It may take your seeing a yawningly banal chiller before you can appreciate a balls-out experiment like Romeo Is Bleeding. If so, try Blink, a compendium of clichés making what promises to be a brief visit in theaters before the inevitable burial at Blockbuster. The film stars beautiful Madeleine Stowe, underrated in Short Cuts and underused here as Emma Brody, a blind Irish fiddle player who gets her vision restored through a corneal transplant. The operation leaves Emma with what screen-writer Dana Stevens calls “retroactive vision.” That’s movie talk for a malady that doesn’t allow Emma to register some of the things she sees – like a grisly murder – until the next day or later. Even then, poor Emma wonders if she saw the dirty deed or just imagined it.
Michael Apted, a fine director of documentaries (7 Up, 35 Up) and biographies (Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist), shows shockingly little flair for suspense. He trots out the usual suspects – the horny surgeon (Peter Friedman), the best friend (Laurie Metcalf), the creepy orderly (Paul Dillon) – like he has just taken a course in Hitchcock 101.
It helps that Aidan Quinn is around to romance Emma as detective John Hallstrom. Like his co-star, Quinn has a knack for churning up passions that are far more intriguing to watch than the usual pileup of clues and bodies. Quinn and Stowe would make a sexy pair in any movie, even this cut-rate Wait Until Dark.