Fernando Meirelles

BY Robert BellPublished Oct 2, 2008

Acting as a kind of erudite art house zombie movie, which dumbs down potential profundity with hippie-dippy, New Age, pseudo-philosophical insights on the state of mankind, Blindness creates discomfort and despondency but glosses over central connectivity, leaving a void where emotional resonance is intended.

Don McKellar's script reins in the literary triumph cohesively on a structural level, which itself is no small feat, remaining within the sociophobic confines that were on display in his earlier success, Last Night.

After a young Japanese man (Yusuke Iseya) suddenly goes blind while driving in rush hour traffic, a thief (Don McKellar) steps in to help the man by taking him home and promptly stealing his car. After he too goes blind, along with everyone he comes in contact with, it becomes evident that an epidemic has broken out.

In an effort to contain the outbreak, government officials imprison the two men, along with an eye doctor (Mark Ruffalo) and his wife (Julianne Moore), who can actually see but has lied about her ailment to stay by her husband’s side. The characters remain nameless and are eventually swept into Lord of the Flies-style chaos and forced to fight for their lives.

It’s beautifully shot, with an appropriately washed out brightness, and sublimely acted, mainly by Moore, who demonstrates depth and vulnerability rarely captured on film, which helps the fact that any Kafkaesque or significant 20th Century-event based allegories aren’t capitalized on with any unique insights or useful perspectives. The breakdown of society exists mainly to magnify a generalized disdain for humanity and the apparent hollowness, callous sense of self-preservation and capacity to exploit we hide from one another.

Regardless of a somewhat pretentious, and glib, core that impedes the potential overall impact, Blindness is an engaging and interesting watch, leaving at least some impression, if only through minor anxiety and shared disdain.

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