At First Sight

Formerly an enterprising producer (Point Blank, Raging Bull) but nowadays a not very good director (The Net), Irwin Winkler has the annoying habit of taking on potent materialsuch as the Hollywood blacklist in Guilty by Suspicion and Jules Dassin’s Night and the City in a remake of the same nameand draining it of practically everything that makes it matter. Here he comes dangerously close to doing the same with Oliver Sacks’s nonfiction story To See and Not See, about a blind man whose sight was restored. He glamorizes, romanticizes, and simplifies the material to an insulting degree, but despite his worst efforts fragments of what made the original story arresting manage to leak through. Val Kilmer, clearly pleased to be entering the Oscar disability sweepstakes, does what he can as the hunk who learns how to see, and Mira Sorvino plays the architect who falls for him; with Kelly McGillis, Bruce Davison, and Nathan Lane. (JR)

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