12-year-old Lucas Hardy (Ben Keyworth) is going blind and the only thing that could save his eyesight is a risky eye operation that could either fix his eyes render him totally blind, like his mother Miriam (Fanny Ardant).
Terrified, lonely and half-blind, he wanders around West London during his school holidays, listening, peering and spying with his telescope, and comes to suspect several local men – including a nudie photographer (Paul McGann) – of being a psycho killer who he believes is attacking blind women and slashing them in the eyes with a razor blade.
Lucas doesn’t tell anyone about this, not even his step-father, Frank (James Fox) – who, in reality, is a florist but in Lucas’ hallucinations is a police officer. The boy also starts seeing other people, who are not blind, as if they were blind and it becomes difficult to separate his dreams (or hallucinations) from reality.
At the same time, he develops an unhealthy interest in his much older stepsister Rose (Clare Holman), who is about to get married and leave their family home, becoming jealous of her husband to be.
This was the first feature directed by Bertolucci’s screenwriter (and brother-in-law) and has surprising reality shifts that might fascinate or infuriate you. It also shows the strong influence of Hitchcock and Michael Powell.
This psychological thriller limps along but has enough substance to hold your interest.