Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blindness - DVD Review

BLINDNESS (**) - Starring Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Alice Braga, Yusuke Iseya, Danny Glover, Gael Garcia Bernal, Maury Chaykin, Don McKellar and Yoshino Kimura.
Directed by Fernando Meirelles.

This movie starts off very promising, very intriguing. A man goes blind, a blindness where he can only see white. The blindness slowly spreads, then rapidly spreads. The government isn't prepared for an outbreak of such unknown magnitude, and the blind are herded up and put in quarantine camps.

What starts out as a study in survival and adjustment devolves into a Lord of the Flies allegory, when one man gets a gun and decides to run the quarantine camp like a dictator. I happen to have a little more faith in humanity than this movie. People stop using toilets and feces spreads across the floors. Food-for-sex becomes the choice for desperate women.

The twist is that one woman, Julianne Moore, can see, but she's pretending to be blind so she can be with her husband. She becomes the selfless servant, and that was one frustrating aspect. As the quarantine building degenerates into a living hell, she never figures out how to use her sight to her advantage to overthrow the despot. At least until after a lot of bad things have happened.

There's nothing enlightening here. It's bleak, it's dark, it's dehumanizing. Very cool beginning, decent end. Ugly, ugly middle. Its ambitions are grander than its execution.

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