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Blind Horizon (April 8/05)

Despite the presence of such familiar faces as Val Kilmer, Neve Campbell, and Amy Smart, it's easy enough to see why Blind Horizon never made it to theaters. Though the film features an intriguing premise and some interesting ideas, the screenplay (written by a pair of newcomers, F. Paul Benz and Steve Tomlin) doesn't really give the characters a whole lot to do; as a result, the majority of Blind Horizon's midsection is devoted to Kilmer's character as he struggles to piece together his own identity (something that sounds much more intriguing than it actually is).

The whole amnesia thing comes into play almost immediately, as the film kicks off with Kilmer's character - Frank Kavanaugh - receiving treatment for his injuries after being left for dead by an unknown assailant (he was shot and thrown off a fairly high cliff). When he comes to, Frank discovers that he has no memory of who he is or what happened to him, a source of great frustration for the local sheriff (played by Sam Shepard). Far more problematic are the sparse memories that Frank does have, most of which revolve around a potential assassination attempt on the President.

As effective as Kilmer and the various performers are, there's just nothing terribly memorable about Blind Horizon. It's the sort of film that passes the time adequately, but begins to fade from one's memory moments after it's ended. Director Michael Haussman's efforts to liven up the proceedings (ie quick cuts, a plethora of flashbacks, etc) eventually become more of a distraction than anything else, as it's impossible not to wish the filmmaker would ease up on the cinematic trickery and let the story unfold naturally.

This is exacerbated by the fact that there's not a whole lot of suspense here, since the viewer is left with little doubt that shady things are afoot (and it certainly doesn't take a genius to figure out that Kilmer's character has something to do with the assassination attempt). Far more frustrating is the creeping realization that some of the more pivotal questions raised by the film's screenplay are going to be left unanswered, particularly those involving the massive conspiracy (ie who are these people and why do they want the President dead?)

Blind Horizon is, when you get right down to it, essentially a lackluster straight-to-video effort elevated by the presence of some unusually big names, and though it's never boring exactly, the film is certainly not anything worth getting excited about.

out of

About the DVD: Blind Horizon features a crisp letterboxed transfer, and a few intriguing bonus features (a 19-minute featurette revolving around the editing process is the highlight).