The Sensation of Sight
by Phil Boatwright

David Strathairn, Ian Somerhalder, Daniel Gillies, Jane Adams, Scott Wilson, Ann Cusack.

Well received at film festivals, this well-mounted production is an offbeat drama about man’s search for meaning amidst the ache of despair.  Finn (David Strahairn) is a middle-aged English teacher entering a midlife crises ignited by a recent tragedy.  This misfortune is not revealed until the final act, so it will not be given away here. But this tragedy causes Finn to cross paths with several other despairing folks and one morose ghost.  By film’s end we discover their interconnection.

PREVIEW REVIEW:  Why?  Everyone of us asks why?  Why are we here?  Why do things happen as they do?  Why is there such evil?  And so on.  Aaron J. Wiederspahn looks at these mysteries and comes to some sort of vague, poetic, if intellectual reasoning.  Religion is somewhat addressed, but not given much substantial ---.  It’s a non-liner, secular attempt at reasoning the whys and wherefores of man’s existence.  For me, it’s difficult enough to address those questions with a sound spiritual base, let alone imagine struggling with them from a mere secular logic.  So while the film gives us an involving story and another Oscar-worthy performance by Mr. Strathairn (Good Night and Good News), I found the slow-moving (some might call it ponderous) storyline less than satisfying.  Ultimately, man feels lost in the stars unless he comes to terms with an omniscient Creator and a sacrificing Savior.  He can become overwhelmed by the unknown without embracing faith.

The DVD contains bonus features, including a behind the scenes look inside The Sensation of Sight.  Not rated at time of screening, it contains around 40 obscenities, mostly the s- and f-words and mostly from one embittered character; a suicide occurs, we see a gun placed in the mouth before it cuts away, leaving us with just the sound effect.

DVD AlternativesThe Case For Faith.  Journalist Lee Strobel investigates two of the most emotional objections to Christianity, which have become barriers to faith and are confronted by believers and skeptics alike: Why is Jesus the only way to God? And, how could a loving God exist if there is evil and suffering in the world?  It is a spiritually rewarding film.

The Straight Story.  True story of Alvin Straight’s patient odyssey from Laurens, Iowa to Mt. Zion, Wisconsin to visit an estranged brother. Unable to drive and with no other option open to him, Alvin was forced to make the journey on a lawn mover. He encounters a number of strangers, from a teenage runaway to a fellow WWII veteran. By sharing his life’s earned wisdom Alvin has a profound impact on these people.  Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Harry Dean Stanton.  Rated G.