Blindness (Miramax ) with Julianne Moore (Far from Heaven, The End of the Affair, Boogie Nights ), Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac ) and Alice Braga (I Am Legend ) opened in theaters on October 3, 2008, and releases on DVD on February 10, 2009.
I had never heard of Blindness before receiving the DVD to review. Based on the novel by Nobel Laureate José Saramago, Blindness is listed as a Drama/Mystery/Romance/Thriller on IMDB (1). However, Blindness is not much of a thriller, definitely not a romance, and not even much of a mystery other than what causes the blindness. Blindness is somewhat dramatic, but not very entertaining. This is the kind of film that gets critical acclaim but doesn’t impress its audience. Blindness, was in fact, nominated for the 2008 Palme d’Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
The Blindness story begins when one man suddenly becomes blind for no apparent reason. His wife takes him to see a doctor (Mark Ruffalo), and within 24 hours, the doctor, the patient’s wife, and everyone in the doctor’s office are all blind. The doctor’s wife (Julianne Moore) never becomes blind, but she feigns blindness to go into quarantine with her husband when health authorities round up all the victims. Soon the couple finds themselves virtually imprisoned with the doctor’s patient and other blind inmates in a facility with three wards.
More and more people are quarantined with “the white blindness,” so the facility grows quickly crowded, filthy, and competitive. When one ward of the more powerful inmates takes over the facility and demands the other inmates pay them for the food supplies, a war breaks out between the wards. As the only person who can see, the doctor’s wife must care for the people around her and protect them from the more unscrupulous and violent inmates. The takeover by the more brutal inmates forces the doctor’s wife into taking extreme measure to protect her people.
The blindness victims eventually escape back into the city to find a world in chaos where it appears everyone who is left is probably blind. Dull, dismal, tedious and artsy scenes follow one after the other. People tottering around in groups, scavenging for food, smiling up into the rain, fighting over food, dogs eating bodies, images of white blindness lead Blindness to its somewhat trite conclusion.
If the plot had been more developed and fleshed out and less artsy, Blindness might have been a decent movie. Julianne Moore gives a good performance, but violence, rape, nudity, and so many unanswered questions make the plot weak and the movie depressing.
For more information including bonus features, see Blindness Comes to DVD on February 10 – a Review (2)
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