Bound for vidstore bins and late-night cable timeslots, "Blind Horizon" is a formulaic Southwestern noir thriller glazed with arty affectations. Cast may attract undiscriminating renters -- and, perhaps, insomniacs -- but amnesia-themed drama is memorable only as final credit of vet character actor Noble Willingham.

Bound for vidstore bins and late-night cable timeslots, “Blind Horizon” is a formulaic Southwestern noir thriller glazed with arty affectations. Cast may attract undiscriminating renters — and, perhaps, insomniacs — but amnesia-themed drama is memorable only as final credit of vet character actor Noble Willingham.

Val Kilmer gamely goes through the motions as Frank, memory-challenged protagonist found mortally wounded near a New Mexico desert town. He can’t remember his past, and doesn’t recognize the beautiful woman (Neve Campbell) claiming to be his wife. The local sheriff (Sam Shepard) takes an intense interest in the case, even while warding off an election challenge by long-time deputy (Willingham). After Frank begins to suspect he may be involved in a Presidential assassination conspiracy, visitors start turning up dead, and a cross-country Presidential motorcade is rerouted through the town. Helmer Michael Haussman tries to hype stale, ’70s-style paranoid plot with self-conscious visual stratagems and obfuscating editing. Pic remains at once frenzied and dull while aspiring to a complexity it never achieves. Amy Smart provides welcome jolt of sultriness as a nurse drawn to Frank. Faye Dunaway appears fleetingly as a conspiracy mastermind, but she doesn’t look happy.

Blind Horizon

Production

A Lions Gate Films release of a Millennium Films production. Produced by Tucker Tooley, Vincent Newman, Randall Emmett, Heidi Jo Markel. Executive producers, Chris Bender, Nancy Lanham, Dale Poniewaz, J.C. Spink. Directed by Michael Haussman. Screenplay, F. Paul Benz, Steve Tomlin.

Crew

Camera (FotoKem color), Max Malkin; editor, Quincy Z. Gunderson; music, Machine Head. Reviewed at South by Southwest Film Festival (Special Screenings), Austin, Texas, March 16, 2004. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Val Kilmer, Neve Campbell, Sam Shepard, Noble Willingham, Amy Smart, Gil Bellows, Giancarlo Esposito, Faye Dunaway.
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