An Phoblacht 2 - 2022 small

29 April 1999 Edition

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Seeing is believing

At First Sight

Based on a true story by Dr. Oliver Sacks, At First Sight goes on general release on 30 April. Directed by Irwin Winkler, the film tells the story of Virgil Adamson, who lost his sight as a child only to regain it through experimental surgery as an adult, one of only 20 cases of restored sight in 200 years. At First Sight is the moving tale of Virgil played by Val Kilmer and Amy played by the gorgeous Mira Sorvino, as they both embark on Virgil's journey into the world of sight.

Kilmer's portrayal of his character is, as with all his roles, believable, if somewhat of a caricature at times, but alongside the very natural Academy Award winner Sorvino, it can be overlooked.

The film also stars Kelly Magillis as Virgil's long suffering and protective older sister and a brilliant performance by Nathan Lane as teacher Phil Webster.

At First Sight is one of those films where the actors' portrayal of characters and cinematography fade into the background if you're lucky enough to see beyond the Hollywood schmaltz.

If it's a sentimental weepy you're waiting for, you may be disappointed, but At First Sight is a film that's really about learning to see with your heart and not your eyes, which, as Virgil Adamson discovered, is the true gift of sight.


Jordan delivers disturbing goods

In Dreams

When screenwriter Bruce Robinson, of Killing Fields fame, was commissioned to flesh out a plot around the idea of police hiring psychics to track down murderers, the storyline could only have been a good one. But when Neil Jordan came aboard to cowrite and direct a film that would be coproduced by Stephen Wooley (The Butcher Boy), a production that can only be described as weird, wonderful and frightening was born.

In Dreams stars Aidan Quinn as Paul, the long-suffering husband of Claire (Annette Benning (The Grifters) who, through her dreams, becomes Robert Downey Jnr's brilliantly portrayed character Vivian Thompson's way of avenging his disturbed childhood.

The film delves into the taboo world of clairvoyance through what Stephen Wooley describes as ``a strange blend of psychological drama and the supernatural, horror genre'' - where things are not quite what they seem.

In Dreams is certainly not for the faint of heart, but if gripping the edge of your seat is what you're into, then this film is right up your cinema aisle.

Stephen Rea, once again reunited with Neil Jordan, plays the initially disbelieving psychiatrist Dr. Silverman with conviction.

Overall, In Dreams is a well cast, well written, directed and produced film, that if goes somewhat OTT in parts, keeps you glued trying to work out what happens next, not to mention questioning the powers of the paranormal.

But just when you think it's safe to wake up, there's more, reminding you of what the disturbed Vivian Thompson himself says in the film. ``Dreams are always right and always wrong.''


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