Blind Horizon 2003 movie

Blind Horizon – Betrayal and deception at the edge of memory

For as many movies we’ve seen with a protagonist who at first doesn’t remember anything, they will never be enough, so let’s add another one from 2003 starring Val Kilmer, Blind Horizon.

It all begins in the desert of a small New Mexico town, where police found our hero, as expected, unconscious with a gunshot wound to the head.

After sweet nurse Liz lovingly cared for him for almost a week, the man wakes up, and local sheriff Jack Kolb arrives to find out what happened.

He cannot say who he is, why he is there, or why someone shot him: but at the same time, he is sure there is a plot in motion to kill the US President within a few days.

Unfortunately, the Secret Service does not believe him, especially after the sheriff finds Miss Chloe Richards, who claims to be his fiancée and his name is Frank Kavanaugh, a regular employee of the Internal Revenue Service.

Having to stay in town during the investigation of his accident, Frank becomes increasingly close with the beautiful Liz, who dreams about a life away from that faraway place, while at the same time, the sheriff suspects that Chloe is not precisely who she claims to be.

Moreover, strange faces who are not locals walk around the town, with some of them harboring a strong interest in what happened to Frank.

However, everyone tries to convince him that his fears are only fueled by his head injury, yet a strange crash forces the presidential parade to change its route and pass through that very town.

As all the pieces finally fall back into place, Frank must make more than one fundamental choice about his life and what he wants to be in his new future.

Very engaging and effective thriller, but…

Although Michael Haussman is more famous as a music clip director than movies, with 2003’s Blind Horizon, he has the cinematic cunning to keep the focus on the characters.

So we don’t have improbable action scenes with shootouts or chases and the narrative’s heart remains almost to the last moment, the mystery around the main character.

There is a lot of tension and many situations with few but well-delineated characters who interact intriguingly and organically with the plot, avoiding unnecessary fillers.

I cannot say the same for the screenplay by F. Paul Benz and Steve Tomlin, although it has some outstanding emotional peaks and continuous twists and turns that entice us to continue uncovering the mystery.

Unfortunately, the mistake lies first in choosing the American president as the victim of the plot, when with darker characters, it would have been better to aim lower.

A more anonymous target would have been more effective, believable, and possibly with some space in the story instead of seeing him only through the crosshairs of a sniper rifle.

The second big mistake was handling the secondary characters beyond the two women, the protagonist and the sheriff, while the others could have had exciting potential but could have been better exploited.

In this sense, for example, I put on top of all the always radiant and striking Faye Dunaway, never so wasted in a role of so little time and with so few lines.

Don’t get me wrong: the thriller is still compelling; otherwise, rest assured, I wouldn’t recommend viewing it to anyone.

There remains, unfortunately, a bitter taste about certain aspects the director and screenwriters could exploit to bring the tension to its full potential, especially as we approach the finale when a little too much happens all at once and too quickly.

Texas Noir Holdem

On the other hand, I have no complaints about the choice of cast, especially for the prominent roles and, as mentioned, even in some secondary roles that could have had more space and importance.

Indeed, besides the goddess Faye Dunaway as the mysterious Ms. K, there is also the funny Noble Willingham, who has a small part in the comical corrupt deputy sheriff trying to run for mayor.

Val Kilmer, meanwhile, is just perfect, and he gets all the proper scenes to properly develop the ambiguous character of Frank Kavanaugh.

A man we see in doubt of what he doesn’t remember for almost the entire story; ironically, his suspicions will worsen when he finally regains his memory and must make a painful personal choice.

Old Val, as usual, puts all his experience into trying to solve a puzzle with a few faulty pieces, charming and enigmatic even when he simply stares blankly without saying anything.

The look or body movement is always convincing in strength and weakness that closely resembles the protagonist in the wonderful Spartan by David Mamet, another thriller built on the deception of what the protagonist doesn’t know.

Alongside him are two beautiful young actresses, Amy Smart and Neve Campbell, whom we see competing on screen for who is more sexy and seductive, almost without ever meeting throughout the story.

Yet they both share a feeling for our protagonist; although they express it in highly different ways, their lives will change dramatically for the same reason.

Finally, we must mention the excellent Sam Shepard as the old sheriff who is not fooled by (almost) anyone, the only character with solid morals in a shady jungle of shifty shadows where everyone tells only half-truths.

As you can see, therefore, there is certainly no shortage of reasons to watch this 2003 movie, as Blind Horizon has excellent direction, a first-rate cast, and a script that is a bit flawed but holds up to the end without ever falling apart. So you can’t miss this little frontier noir on the edge of Texas that feels like it’s from another time, taking the lights and shadows of the best classics of the genre.

Amazon Prime Video

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