Blindness

Date Thu, October 16 2008

Ryan and I recently saw the movie Blindness in theatres and while I didn’t not like the movie, I can’t quite syathat I liked it either. Let me start with the premise.

A man in Anytown, USA mysteriously goes blind while driving his car and while initially dismissed as a psychological case by a doctor, others soon become blind as well and an epidemic begins. The government deals with this, incorrectly might I say, as usually by sending the infected persons off in a bus to an old institution. Because no one wants to catch the blindness and there is no solution as to why people are infected, the complex is guarding by the military.

If that doesn’t sound like a pleasant situation, things go from bad to worse. The numbers increase by the busload and what started with a tentative peace between the residents soon turns into an abusive situation with Ward 3 turning into “prison bullies” and taking over control of the food.

Amidst this mess are a doctor and his wife, played by Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore. The doctor is the only one who knows that his wife is not blind and she takes care of him as well as others in their ward.

As food, clean facilities and needed items such as clothing dwindle, tension elevates until Ward 3, led by a greasy Mexican (played by Gael García Bernal) whom I think was previously a criminal is demanding the women for food.

I’ll leave the spoilers to the rest of the internet.

I was a bit disappointed for this movie because I think I was in the wrong mindset. To me, the trailers billed this as more of an action packed movie. Perhaps I would have known better if I were familiar with the source: a novel. However, this movie was more a psychological and intellectual view at the human condition and I think I may have enjoyed it better had I intended to see a movie of that type.

Julianne Moore is a veteran and did well. Mark Ruffalo is not as well known and tends to play the “nice guy” character in chick flicks. I think this role offers more depth and he takes it on well. We also come to know “The Woman With Dark Glasses” who is a prostitute but generally kind hearted, a little boy and an older black gentleman played by Danny Glover. Although most of the “bad guys” seem to be lesser known characters, they are loved by their fans, especially Gael García Bernal who plays a despicable character.

As we watched human behaviours, faults and virtues that make up the human experience, I became increasingly more uncomfortable. This is not a feel good movie.

The movie isn’t exactly slow but I find the way events progress to be generally frustrating. Although there is a climax, it seems to be almost something happening in the background while the viewer waits for the real story to being.

At the end, the audience still doesn’t know what caused the blindness and this may be frustrating to some. Another frustrating point is that this movie is literally dark to the point of being difficult to see. While I understand the motivation to play with light and darkness in a movie about blindness, I think that it wasn’t done as well as the producers may have thought.

Overall, I probably wouldn’t watch this movie again but I might give the book a go.

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