Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Apted
Written byDana Stevens
Produced byDavid Blocker
CinematographyDante Spinotti
Edited byRick Shaine
Music byBrad Fiedel
Distributed byNew Line Cinema
Release dates
  • October 1993 (1993-10) (Italy)
  • January 26, 1994 (1994-01-26) (United States)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$11-15 million[1][2]
Box office$21.7 million[3]

Blink is a 1993 American neo-noir thriller film directed by Michael Apted and written by Dana Stevens. Starring Madeleine Stowe and Aidan Quinn, the film follows Emma Brody, the recipient of a corneal transplant who works with a police detective to track down a serial killer whose latest murder she inadvertently bore witness to.

Principal photography began on March 14, 1993 and took place in various Chicago locations. Chicago rock band The Drovers play a supporting role as themselves and contributed three songs to the soundtrack.[4]


Emma Brody, a violinist for a Celtic rock band in Chicago, has been blind for twenty years as the result of an attack by her abusive mother. She volunteers for an experimental surgery where her doctor, Ryan Pierce, equips her with corneal transplants. Though Emma's vision is partially restored, a side effect is "retroactive hallucination", meaning some things she sees don’t actually register in her brain until days after first witnessing them.

After hearing a noise from the apartment above and seeing a shadowy figure descend the building stairs, Emma goes to the police to file a report. However, her reliability is questioned because of her impaired vision. When Emma’s upstairs neighbor Valerie is later found murdered, Detective John Hallstrom, who earlier expressed skepticism about Emma, comes to rely on her for clues.

After an appointment with Dr. Pierce, Emma is walking in the parking garage of a hospital when her guide dog Ralphie begins barking and acting jittery. Emma also sees a crucifix pendant left on the garage floor. Ralphie gives chase to an assailant, but is accidentally hit by a car and must be taken to a veterinarian. Hallstrom starts to put more credence in Emma because the crucifix pendant she claims to have seen was found on the earlier victim’s body. He gets a policeman to stand watch at her door and follows her around town, taking a romantic interest in her. When Emma goes on a date with Dr. Pierce, Hallstrom enviously watches from afar.

After Dr. Pierce drops Emma off at her place, Hallstrom follows her back home where they express their mutual attraction to each other, embarking on a romance. Hallstrom’s fellow officers believe his relationship with Emma compromises his detective work. Meanwhile, the serial killer strikes again in Milwaukee. Hallstrom is rebuked by his superior for not having found the killer; to focus on his work, he distances himself from Emma and asks his colleague Ridgeley to look after her.

Emma goes to Hallstrom's office looking for him, prompting an argument between the couple about their relationship and ending with Emma storming off. She gets on the L train and sees visions of a man coming after her, but these turn out to be distorted visions as Ridgeley is the one chasing her, not the killer. Ridgeley finds Emma just as she faints on the train. Later, when seeing Dr. Pierce for an appointment, Emma becomes wary when she sees the doctor using surgical soap, as she remembers this was the scent when she encountered the killer.

Hallstrom finds medical bills addressed to Emma that erroneously lists the upstairs apartment as hers. He pieces together that the murderer meant to kill Emma, but ended up mistakenly killing her neighbor Valerie. He deduces that the killer is going after people who received the organs of Leslie Davison, a woman the killer loved. Dr. Pierce shows up outside Emma’s apartment claiming the family of her organ donor wants to get in touch with her. After some hesitation, Emma gets the address from Pierce and heads to the location with Crowe, her police officer escort.

Emma knocks on the door of the house but nobody is home. She goes to tell Crowe who has parked in an empty garage, but she is ambushed by the killer, who has killed the cop in his car and locked the garage. The murderer, a former hospital orderly, refers to Emma as Leslie and taunts her. Emma fights back, gets ahold of his gun and shoots, but her impaired vision makes it difficult. When Hallstrom is informed that Emma went to Leslie’s supposed address, he goes to the location with backup. After a prolonged chase around the garage, Emma manages to shoot the killer dead. The cops hear the gunshots and bring Emma to safety.

After some questioning at the police station, Ridgeley offers to give Emma a ride home, but Hallstrom is waiting outside with a recovering Ralphie. Emma decides to walk home with Hallstrom and they share a kiss.



Critical reception

Blink holds a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 27 critics' reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10.[5]

Praise went to Stowe's performance, with critics commending how it departs from "the old 'beautiful blind woman in peril' school of romantic thrillers".[6][7][8][9] In a positive review, film critic Roger Ebert said Emma is "not your average movie blind woman, all trembling and sensitive. She's independent, tough, smart, cynical, and she likes to take a drink from time to time".[10] He added, "Quinn and Stowe are able to bring to their characters a certain no-B.S. edge that I recognize as very Chicago", and ultimately called the film "an uncommonly good thriller" in a review that gave 3 and ½ stars out of four.[10]

The New York Times's Janet Maslin praised the film's cast and visual effects, but criticized the screenplay, writing "'Blink' resembles last year's 'Malice' as a mystery with a compelling setup, good actors, a lot of well-evoked atmosphere and a solution so nutty it takes the breath away. The denouement of 'Blink' is such a doozy that it winds up deflating the whole film, which otherwise might have sustained its sharp characterizations and gritty atmosphere."[8][7] Peter Rainer of the Los Angeles Times described the plot as "so convoluted that even Hitchcock might have gotten tangled up in it".[9] David Ansen of Newsweek wrote Blink "walks a fine line, but if you're willing to accept it on its frankly formulaic terms, it delivers some good jolts".[6]

The Miami Herald gave the film 2.5 stars (out of 4), saying, "After a number of red herrings, the identity of the killer turns out to be rather inconsequential -- and the motive somewhat farfetched. A shame, because the premise here, paired with an equally clever plot, would've made a dandy exercise in suspense. As it is, Blink is mildly engaging entertainment, nothing that will have you checking your watch, but nowhere near as good as its terrific trailers ("Things are not what they seem" and all that) make it out to be."[11]

Box office

The film debuted at number 4 at the US box office.[12] It grossed $16,696,219 in the US and Canada and $21.7 million worldwide.[3]

Year-end lists

Awards and nominations


  1. ^ "MOVIES : The Trip to Bankable : After a series of supporting roles, Madeleine Stowe has finally achieved name-above-the-title star status. And all it took was 15 years of paying dues and speaking her mind--and one big hit in 'Last of the Mohicans'". Los Angeles Times. January 30, 1994. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  2. ^ "Hot titles". Variety. February 28, 1993. Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "Worldwide rentals beat domestic take". Variety. February 13, 1995. p. 28.
  4. ^ Kening, Dan (February 18, 1994). "Chicago's Drovers Stare Down Fame Thanks to 'Blink' Role". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on December 29, 2023.
  5. ^ "Blink". Rotten Tomatoes.
  6. ^ a b Ansen, David (January 30, 1994). "Heartstops And Heartbreak". Newsweek. Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  7. ^ a b Baumgarten, Marjorie (January 28, 1994). "Blink". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved December 29, 2023.
  8. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (January 26, 1994). "Review/Film; The Blind Woman Gets Tougher In a Familiar and Deadly Formula". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  9. ^ a b Rainer, Peter (January 26, 1994). "MOVIE REVIEW : Tangled Scenario Turns Thriller 'Blink' into a Blur". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (January 26, 1994). "Blink". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on September 22, 2007. Retrieved June 1, 2012 – via
  11. ^ Rodriguez, Rene (January 26, 1994). "Blink Falls Short as Suspense Thriller, But It's Worth a Look". The Miami Herald. p. 2E.
  12. ^ "Weekend Box Office : 'Mrs. Doubtfire' Still the Champ". Los Angeles Times. February 1, 1994. Retrieved June 1, 2012.
  13. ^ Lovell, Glenn (December 25, 1994). "The Past Picture Show the Good, the Bad and the Ugly -- a Year Worth's of Movie Memories". San Jose Mercury News (Morning Final ed.). p. 3.
  14. ^ Arnold, William (December 30, 1994). "'94 Movies: Best and Worst". Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Final ed.). p. 20.
  15. ^ "Blink - Awards & Festivals". Mubi. Retrieved December 29, 2023.