Starring Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Gael Garcia Bernal, Alice Braga & Danny Glover.
Written by Don McKellar.
Directed by Fernando Meirelles.
In an unnamed city, people are going blind. There is no explanation for it, but it seems to be contagious. Fearing an epidemic, the authorities send the afflicted into makeshift quarantine, among them a doctor (Ruffalo) and his wife (Moore), the latter unaffected by the mysterious disease (or whatever it may be). Soon, the blind are left to fend for themselves, and as their numbers grow, hygiene deteriorates and power struggles ensue. As the only person with sight in the entire facility, the burden of many is heavy on the shoulders of the doctor’s wife. Sounds good, huh? Well, it’s not. Based on a novel by Jose Saramago, and despite some good performances (notably, the slimy Bernal), Blindness never overcomes its unintentional hilarity. Disability on screen can often become parody when not placed in the right hands, and this is the case with Blindness. Director Meirelles’ earlier films City Of God and The Constant Gardener displayed a cinema verite sensibility, complete with hand-held camera and a relatively unique, raw method. His style in this film however moves into distracting territory, creating a jumbled visual experience and a dull and almost repugnant atmosphere. Blindness could have been something special, but as it stands, the film is a waste of a source material that was intriguing and compelling.
By Wadrick Jones