Blindness - Movie Review
A tad too much raping for my taste. In fact, there's a lot of raping. Apparently that's what happens when people go blind, a least as far as the film Blindness is concerned. It took a glance over to my girlfriend to realize I had a look of disgusted horror plastered across my face, as I lurched my head forward rhythmically in expectation of projectile vomit. Had I been able to get past all that rape business perhaps I would have added an extra asterisk for the film, but Blindness is the kind of movie that really hates you.
Blindness is based off of a novel that I read two chapters of and then set back down on the shelf at Barnes and Noble, probably because I thought it would work better as a movie. As far as I can tell, the beginning of the film was more or less loyal to the little sample I read. A man goes blind, suddenly and without reason, but instead of being thrown into darkness his world is covered in a sea of white. He's helped by a very sketchy good samaritan, who after snatching the man's car, also goes blind. And so the pandemic goes the way of a zombie virus, it spreads fast, has absolutely no explanation, and really doesn't need one. Eventually the virus, or whatever it is, makes it's way to an eye-doctor and his wife Julianne Moore. Sure, she has a character name, but Julianne Moore will always be Julianne Moore, boyish and kind of annoying.
For another unexplained reason she doesn't go blind, but she sticks with her husband as the initial crew of infected individuals are rushed off to a quarantined facility.
Now, I didn't question the blindness as a disease, but I did find myself questioning the prospect of a quarantined facility with no doctors, scientists, or guards of any type within the facility itself to keep an eye on what's going on. This place seems to only exist because the storyteller wanted these characters to be there, and apparently only because this is where terrible things can happen to them. The only difference between this film and most common horror films is that these characters show very little motivation to act out against their aggressors, as a matter of fact, they volunteer themselves to the abuse.
Most of these troubles come from the "king" of Ward 3 (played by Gael Garcia Bernal) who holds the rations hostage in exchange for goods of incrementally disturbing wealth. We don't really know why he's so bad, and I suppose that doesn't really matter either. The film places little value on whys, or hows. No one really cares about that, nobody really cares that much at all, and without the value of the humanity of these characters the film becomes rather worthless. The world-view portrayed is that of all humanity being in the dark, with the only thing separating ourselves from the animals being that we can see the looks of disappointment from our fellow man. There is little confidence here in the goodness of people.
Technically, the film has a unique look, if not an altogether pleasant one. The cinematography is disorienting, often framed with characters just too far off the screen or far too close, or far too dark or far too light. To be honest, at times I actually liked it. The director Fernando Meirelles knows grit and shows it well. The story, on the other hand, is a mess.
Perhaps it was too loyal to the source material. With poor structuring and even worse pacing, the film feels like it runs two hours past its two hour running-time, with an ending that arrives an hour after the film actually ended. The story spends too long within the confines of a facility when there's an entire world of fascinating sights just outside of the door. It's a shame the film is so blind.