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CAN: Blindness

05.15.2008

BLINDNESS
Directed by: Fernando Meirelles
Starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo

PLOT: When a group of varied folks get struck with a sudden case of BLINDNESS (I hate when that happens, specially when at a strip club), they get tossed into a dive by the government and its up to that one finer than red wine gal (Moore) who still can see to keep things together.

CRITIQUE: I knew nothing about BLINDNESS or its director Fernando Meirelles before I aimlessly walked into the Cannes screening room to grab the bull by the horns and teach it a lesson. One thing I was aware of though was: Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffallo are damn fine actors and if they’ve chosen to be in this film, they’re must be something to it. I was wrong…again… story of my life.

BLINDNESS started on the right foot with a tantalizing initial premise that promised something immersing to come. A group of people suddenly become blind due to a mysterious “blindness” contagion and are then shoved into a scummy hole by our government and are kept there at gun point in the name of protecting the masses. Up to that point the film had me hooked, lined and you know the rest with its powerful acting, brilliant audio/visual design (loved the blind POV stuff) and promises of something astounding to come. It never came. When the government didn't even attempt to figure out what was going on, I knew I was in "forfeit logic in the name of creating impact" trouble. It just didn't make any sense.

Hence, what followed was a slew of clichés and stereotypes within the subgenre, put out via a trite handling of the chain of events. I cannot count how many times the film ignored common sense to forced feed a plot turn my way to create conflict while streamlining a "simpleton message" within its narrative. Thing was, when manufactured as opposed to rolling out in an organic fashion, the bedlam here had the opposite effect on me. I actually felt insulted by the sheer fact that the people behind this film didn’t think I was smart enough to pin-point where they cheated logic to elevate the stakes of their game. I'm a simpleton yes, but give me some credit!

And the same can be said about the useless philosophical for dummies narration (by the great Danny Glover so it did count for something I guess... Murtaugh!) that accompanied the action. Spelling out what I was able to deduce on my own as to what was going on the screen did not make for a more fulfilling watch. Making me feel like a spoon-fed imbecile on the other hand – yeah, it succeeded in that respect! Topple on top of that the overall lesson of the film being old and the final frames unsatisfying and you get a picture that could’ve been if its script had gone beyond the first draft.

At about an hour and a half in of BLINDNESS, I had had enough, yet the film kept going on for what felt like an eternity. It didn’t really have anything left to say but it kept preaching to the choir none the less. Bugh. In closing BLINDNESS started off on the right foot, let its imagery and brilliant use of sound gap the rest (the minimalist score was very effective if I may add) and then dropped to the bottom of the river like a pigeon wearing concrete boots. -- 5/10

Source: JoBlo.com

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