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New Line Home Cinema presents
Blink (1994)

"I can't see things that are right in front of me, and I can see things that couldn't be there. "
- Emma Brody (Madeleine Stowe)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: October 27, 2003

Stars: Madeleine Stowe, Aidan Quinn
Other Stars: James Remar, Peter Friedman, Bruce A. Young, Laurie Metcalf, Paul Dillon
Director: Michael Apted

MPAA Rating: R for sexuality, language, and violence
Run Time: 01h:45m:58s
Release Date: October 07, 2003
UPC: 794043672620
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- CB+B+ D

DVD Review

Emma Brody (Madeleine Stowe) plays violin for a popular Irish band and appears to live happily even though a stunning, violent act by her mother 20 years earlier destroyed her sight and changed her life. Everything could transform again when a corneal transplant becomes possible for the attractive young woman. The operation works successfully, but a unique problem arises with Emma's visual perceptions. Her brain sometimes takes a while to process information and reveals images long after they actually appeared. This condition becomes crucial when a murder occurs in her apartment building. Did Emma really see the killer, or is her brain distorting her perceptions of reality?

Blink takes an interesting concept and squanders it within the confines of a generic thriller. Director Michael Apted (Enigma, the 7 Up documentaries) utilizes some effective tactics that closely align us with Emma's condition. The camera takes a first-person perspective and presents her confusing sights directly. However, this tale moves at a snail's pace and delivers too many dull conventions. The cops race to stop a nasty serial killer who brutally murders for a very specific reason, but the tense moments are blatantly telegraphed and rarely generate the intended nervous feelings. Dana Stevens' (Life or Something Like It...) screenplay attempts to reveal more human characteristics, but everything has a familiar tone and misses the expected originality.

Detective John Hallstrom (Aidan Quinn) is a gruff, oddball Irish detective who leads the baffling murder investigation. His only witness is Emma, and his fellow policemen hold little hope of her revealing anything. Because any thriller requires an "erotic" love story, the detective becomes involved with Emma and actually forgets about the investigation. It takes another murder to snap him out of the reverie and regain his focus. This love story never gets off the ground and generates virtually zero chemistry between the handsome leads. Stowe does get a few welcome chances to remove her clothes, but the emotional side never resonates. Quinn rotates between playing a goofy idiot and a sensitive guy, and neither version works very well. Stowe does an effective job showing her character's strong foundation, but she also falls victim to the requirements of the thriller.

Blink drags along through its first hour and eventually delivers several mildly chilling moments. However, its uneven pace keeps the story from developing any forward momentum. The events culminate in a scene witnessed numerous times before that falls well short of the expected tension. The overall result is unfortunate because a decent thriller does seem to live somewhere beneath the surface. The basic attributes do exist and stem from an inventive premise, but the film never grabs you like it should. The final product provides nothing more than an adequate night of mindless entertainment.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: Blink offers the option of choosing between a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen or a 1.33:1 pan-and-scan viewing experience. The former version is easily superior and includes few defects or grainy moments. The colors are a bit muted and lack the sharp brightness of many digital transfers, but the overall quality is solid. The full-frame images should be avoided unless you're still bothered by the black bars on the screen.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: This release provides a decent 5.1-channel Dolby Digital transfer that translates the suspenseful moments well to the small screen. The best audio scenes are the Irish music concerts, which utilize the entire sound field effectively. The conversations spring clearly from the speakers and keep everything moving clearly. The sounds are generally sharp, but this track is missing the extra complexity required to reach the next level. A 2.0-channel Dolby Surround track also is offered, and it performs solidly.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Heaven's Prisoners, Lawnmower Man 2, Excessive Force
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. DVD Credits
Extras Review: This release's lone extra features are theatrical trailers for this picture, Heaven's Prisoners, Lawnmower Man 2, and Excessive Force, along with a basic web link. The lack of any interesting supplements is not a major surprise considering the movie's mid-level catalog status.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

Blink does earn a few points for using real-life Irish band the Drovers instead of creating a bad imitation act. It also avoids the typical gory shots designed to shock that often inhabit the genre. However, it never rises beyond its mediocre script or generates effective drama. Stowe and Quinn perform adequately, but are trapped within the confines of a limited story.


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