This poor man’s Children of Men compensates Julianne Moore for her limited screen time in that film by never letting her out of the camera’s sight, but unfortunately Fernando Meirelles doesn’t live up to his side of the bargain.

Too much time (i.e. the majority of the film) is spent in the quarantine facility for the first victims of the epidemic, where too little happens. I don’t know about you, but if I were the only sighted person in a blind world, I would realise that I am the equivalent of a ninja compared to everyone else and do something with it. But Julianne Moore spends her time trying to act as blind as possible so no one will find out, until very late in the game when the movie becomes awesome for maybe 30-60 seconds.

The film is also kind of offensive to blind people by its suggestion that if everyone became blind we would quit using toilets (not to mention specific atrocities). Even metaphorical situations must still be credible on the literal level. Whether an epidemic of blindness is credible is not in question because that is the very premise — it is the consequences of the premise that must be treated credibly. No Country for Old Men and, again, Children of Men are the gold standard of high concept allegory working equally well on the strictly non-metaphorical level.

Blindness shows a few glimpses of promise but it is mostly a failed opportunity: a fertile premise restricted to microcosmic allegory and unhinged from narrative. If you find yourself driving to the theater to see Blindness, just drive on past and pick up Children of Men instead which came out on Blu-ray today. Not only was it the best film of 2006 but it’s the best Christmas movie ever (not to be watched with children though)!

2 thoughts on “BLINDNESS

  1. Ryan says:

    I got all excited about the Blu-Ray, and then realized it was a pricey import. I’ll wait impatiently for the US release.

    Regarding your review: it’s a travesty that what will probably be only film made with such a premise did not milk the “in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king” proverb it was probably based on. Few things in film are as frustrating as obvious wasted potential.

    Other wasted potential movies that come to mind: Judge Dredd. Set everything up to be super awesome (future cop going around kicking ass? I’m sold!) and then take it all away 5 minutes in and never gives it back. Punisher (2004) was similar, though that was disappointing because they tried making him kick ass and sucked at it.

  2. Nobody says:

    As I intimated, Julianne does become queen finally but only for about half a minute before the plot goes in another direction suddenly, which was good since the plot of the last hour had been directionless but bad because the bad plot had finally become good and I felt I had earned a longer payoff.

    You’re right about Judge Dredd. Losing one’s Licence to Kill is okay if it’s the 16th film in a franchise but not if you’re kicking off a franchise.

    I didn’t think Punisher was so bad — I enjoyed Thomas Jane but disliked it because of Travolta’s recycled Broken Arrow/Face Off/Swordfish schtick, and because of Frank’s unnecessarily elaborate Monte Cristo-like revenge. The Punisher doesn’t roll that way! I wished Tom Jane had done another.

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