Blindness

Not rated yet!
Director
Fernando Meirelles
Runtime
2 h 01 min
Release Date
14 May 2008
Genres
Drama, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller
Overview
When a sudden plague of blindness devastates a city, a small group of the afflicted band together to triumphantly overcome the horrific conditions of their imposed quarantine.
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Kyle Smith3
National Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Blind People Against "Blindness"!
    If I were writing the headlines, I think my review for the desperate, excruciating movie adaptation of “Blindness” would be something like “UNREADABLE BOOK MADE INTO UNWATCHABLE FILM.” “Blindness,” based on the baffling Jose Saramago novel, is about a society where large numbers of people are inexplicably struck blind. Mark Ruffalo is one, an eye doc. He and many others are locked up in a former insane asylum that, because no one can see, quickly becomes a sewerish hell-hole. His wife (Julianne “If your movie degrades me, sign me up!” Moore, who boasts that she wore no makeup for the film) pretends to be blind so she can be locked up and look after him. Every so often, authorities send in a shipment of food, but within the new blind society, a fascist group (led by Gael Garcia Bernal) seize power in a coup and enslave the rest, who will starve to death if they don’t obey all commands. “Blindness” is so unfocused that it could be an allegory for anything. The only thing it obviously isn’t about: blindness. That hasn’t stopped people from misreading it. Case in point: this advocacy group, which is planning protests in 21 states. The AP says in a drily witty report: Blind people quarantined in a mental asylum, attacking each other, soiling themselves, trading sex for food. For Marc Maurer, who’s blind, such a scenario — as shown in the movie “Blindness” — is not a clever allegory for a breakdown in society. Instead, it’s an offensive and chilling depiction that Maurer fears could undermine efforts to integrate blind people into the mainstream. “The movie portrays blind people as monsters, and I believe it to be a lie,” said Maurer, president of the Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind. “Blindness doesn’t turn decent people into monsters.” And in the department of irony: The movie reinforces inaccurate stereotypes, including that the blind cannot care for themselves and are perpetually disoriented, according to the NFB. “We face a 70 percent unemployment rate and other social problems because people don’t think we can do anything, and this movie is not going to help — at all,” said Christopher Danielsen, a spokesman for the organization. How dare you think we have problems when we’ve got a 70 percent unemployment rate! Anyway, the movie isn’t about people who are blind from birth and have learned some strategies for dealing with their handicap. It’s about adults who are suddenly and inexplicably struck blind, then given no help at all in dealing with their condition but thrown into a festering prison-like atmosphere with other blind people. You don’t think these folks would be a tad disoriented?]]>
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    (Review Source)
  • Review: "Blindness"
    UNFOCUSED Kyle Smith review of “Blindness” 2.5 stars out of 4 121 minutes/Rated R The themes of “Blindness” go by in a blur. When large numbers of people in a nameless cosmopolis are suddenly struck blind, the vagueness seems so deliberate that the allegory could be steering our attention to AIDS, Marxism, feminism, pacifism, the surreal craziness of Latin American dictatorship or the ultimate Christian triumph of the golden rule. “The Constant Gardener” director Fernando Mereilles situates the outbreak in an unidentified city where people of all nationalities seem to freely mingle. When a motorist suddenly loses his sight while his car is stopped at a traffic light, the shocking ease with which total strangers slip into bad Samaritanism sets the grim tone. You don’t normally expect a movie to be this unpleasant to sit through unless it’s about the Holocaust or was directed by Edward Burns. Blindness seems to be contagious, and soon so many people have been struck blind that an authoritarian government forces them into an abandoned metal hospital where they’re held prisoner at gunpoint and occasionally given boxes of food by unsympathetic soldiers in hazmat suits. Among them are an ophthalmologist (Mark Ruffalo), a hooker (Alice Braga), a kindly geezer (Danny Glover) and the ophthalmologist’s wife (Julianne Moore), who can see but pretends to be blind also so she can look after her man. Why she alone is immune is a mystery; she’s sort of like the doctor in “The Plague.” As the wards fill up with helpless victims, the halls teem with garbage and human waste. Ruffalo’s character serves as a wise leader who tries to keep everyone calm. He faces opposition in a younger man (Gael Garcia Bernal), who declares himself dictator—first jokingly, then not. The Bernal figure starts to seize food supplies as they come in, and he backs his threats with a gun that seems to be loaded with an unlimited number of bullets. (Why doesn’t Moore’s character simply sneak up on him and disarm him?) Things that shouldn’t matter anymore suddenly matter more than ever—race, money, jewels. Jose Saramago, the Nobel-winning author of the book that inspired the movie, goes for an indoor “Lord of the Flies” feel. The point is made with touches of black comedy and a grim mise en scene that suggests a claustrophobic apocalypse. The streets empty out—everyone is afraid to drive when anyone else on the road can be struck blind at any moment—leaving a deserted cityscape like the one in “28 Days Later.” And the masses of blind people behave a bit like the zombies in that film. A mass rape played with a “Clockwork Orange” jauntiness led to more than a few walkouts at the screening I attended at the relatively unshockable Toronto Film Festival. Also shocking is the presence of a “real” blind person—a fellow who was born blind and is consequently much more at ease in this dark world. He takes the side of the dictator. A cinematographer’s toybox, the movie suggests blindness by glare, bursts of light, overexposures, double exposures, shadows, backlighting, characters speaking off camera and a dozen other tricks that at times make you think the whole thing could be compressed a bit—to, perhaps, the length of a “Twilight Zone” episode, which is basically what “Blindness” amounts to. I kept hoping the meaning would click into place, but it never quite did. The story seems designed to apply to whatever fear is nibbling around your subconscious. I suppose it could even be about global warming, though it was written before that became a fashionable cause. What finally irked me, though, wasn’t so much the ugliness of its view of humanity as the ease with which the story ends. If the moral is that we all ought to be nice to each other, it isn’t quite enough with which to close out such a strange, sometimes harrowing and sometimes wicked movie.]]>
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    (Review Source)
  • Toronto Film Festival Update
    (”Blindness” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    Bleary-eyed after 14 films since Friday afternoon (if you count “Che” as two films–it’s 262 minutes plus an intermission), I can barely keep them all straight. But, some quick takes: “Flash of Genius.” Greg Kinnear as inventor of intermittent windshield wiper. Ford steals his idea. He spends most of the movie in an endless “Civil Action” type lawsuit. Lou says Greg’s performance is Oscar bait. I think he’s fine in the movie, but it’s just too small to get any Oscar notice. It’s more of a TV movie. No one is going to pay to watch Kinnear fight a lawsuit for two poky hours. This is the kind of movie that comes from a magazine article (in this case, one by John Seabrook in The New Yorker) that makes some scout think: “Hey! This is just like a movie!” Problem: it’s just like a movie everyone has already seen a thousand times. There’s nothing much wrong with it. It’s well-done. People who see it will enjoy it. But it just isn’t original. I predict zero Oscar nominations. Kinnear’s other movie at the fest, “Ghost Town,” is much more fun. Miracle at St. Anna Worst Spike Lee movie ever? There is hot competition for that title. I might go a step further and say this is the worst ambitious picture of the year, a crazed mess that mingles racial commentary, bewilderingly poor action scenes, needlessly graphic violence and clunky comedy interludes. Oh, and it’s 2 hours and 40 minutes, has no stars and features a surreally abysmal ending. Good luck marketing this one, Disney. Pride and Glory Edward Norton and Colin Farrell are cops, Jon Voight is a daddy cop, Noah Emmerich is the brother of the guy who runs New Line cinema and consequently must be in every New Line release. Again, preposterously overblown, painting contemporary New York as the world capital of thug cops. Everyone swears a lot to make up for the fact that the script doesn’t come close to authenticity. Rachel Getting Married Anne Hathway, just out of rehab and facing up to serious internal demons, is sprung to attend her sister’s wedding at their posh Connecticut family’s house. “Margot at the Wedding” meets “Ordinary People.” I second Lou: Hathaway is brilliant, all but certain to get an Oscar nomination. I thought the film was just about perfect until it went flat in a third act that featured a 10-minute musical interlude just when things should have been wrapping up. Jonathan Demme’s best film in quite a while. I expect Jenny Lumet’s script will get an Oscar nod as well. Yes, she’s Sidney’s girl. Burn After Reading An oddball Coen Brothers comedy that has no likable characters and ends like a shaggy dog story. I didn’t hate it, as many do. The stupidities of the gang of fools were well observed. But the movie is kind of a throwaway. Perhaps it’ll look better on repeat viewings. Blindness As grim as a Holocaust movie, this cautionary fable finds blindness striking citizens suddenly in an unnamed city in an unnamed country. Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo and Gael Garcia Bernal are victims who are herded into a filthy abandoned hospital where they create a microcosm of man’s cruelty for two grueling hours. Half a dozen viewers (at least) walked out after a rape scene played with “Clockwork Orange” jauntiness. I felt the film lacked, er, a clear vision. The Wrestler A nice little movie about a washed-up Hulk Hogan-style wrestler (Mickey Rourke, in an amazing blond mullet) 20 years after his prime does the cliches and does them well. At one point, when the Rourke character goes to look up his daughter (Evan Rachel Wood), from whom he has been estranged, to beg her to let him back in his life, I wondered how many times I’d seen this exact scene before. Still, it’s a crowd pleaser and could bring Rourke an Oscar nod. Slumdog Millionaire As colorful as Bollywood and as urgent as “Trainspotting,” this movie is so blazing with color and sound that it’s like it was made in a higher medium than every other title I’ve seen here. Director Danny Boyle has disappointed me with pretty much every film since “Trainspotting,” which is one of my favorites, but he’s back on top with this story of a ghetto orphan from Mumbai/Bombay who gets a chance to appear on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” I’d say it’s the best fiction film I’ve seen this year and I expect Boyle to get the Oscar nomination for best director he deserved for “Trainspotting.” It’s the kind of movie where you don’t get up during the credits because you don’t want anyone to see you crying.]]>
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    (Review Source)

Crosswalk1
Cross Walk



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Offensive, Insulting Blindness Better Left Unseen
    Movies DVD Release Date:  February 10, 2009Theatrical Release Date:  October 3, 2008Rating:  R (for language, strong sexual content/nudity, and violence including sexual assaults)Genre:  Drama, Thriller, AdaptationRun Time:  120 min.Director:  Fernando MeirellesCast:  Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Danny Glover, Gael Garcia Bernal, Alice BragaOne of the best ways narrative art can comment on society is to propose a far-fetched (even impossible) “what if” scenario, and then use that basis to explore the human condition under extreme circumstances (director Stanley Kubrick did this better than anybody, and David Fincher is a worthy contemporary).  But for the metaphor to work, at some level it has to resonate.  Even if what’s happening would never happen, how it all happens must ring true.  Blindness is one such attempt at allegorical social commentary.  Unfortunately, it is completely and utterly preposterous. In a present-day unnamed American metropolis, an unprecedented medical crisis unfolds:  people are inexplicably going blind.  First it’s one person, then another, and over several days it’s a handful.  The cause is unknown and no cotangent link can be determined.  It’s simply happening.  The city acts quickly and quarantines the victims.  A plausible, even expected development, yet it’s the last moment when disbelief in the overall scenario can be suspended.  From there, Blindness doesn’t merely stretch credibility; it’s patently absurd. In such a quarantine, one would naturally expect the victims to be placed in a medical facility where research would be conducted and the people cared for.  In Blindness, the exact opposite happens.  Like Jews sent off to Krakow, the blind are sent to a rundown facility with no running water, food is scarce and rationed, and no caretakers are provided.  The only monitors are military guards who surround the facility perimeter that has been barbed-wired and barricaded like a concentration camp.  Beyond that, people are left to their own devices and without any basic resources. As the number of quarantined victims increases exponentially, the facility’s culture descends into utter chaos.  Depraved animal instincts become the norm as the most crude and vile version of Darwinistic philosophy takes over.  No one extends a helping hand, gesture of compassion, or even an instinct toward survival.  Rather than uniting in crisis, everyone turns on each other.  It’s as if the loss of sight automatically leads to the loss of sanity. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-1'); }); The facility looks like an asylum overrun by the patients where people walk around in a daze, defecating where they may.  Violence, sexual assaults and murders erupt as this closed-off culture devolves into pure anarchy.  The depiction of it all isn’t just offensive; it’s intellectually insulting.  Even if an entire city were struck by a mysterious blindness, this would never happen. So why, then, do the filmmakers expect us to buy it?  One can only guess it’s because they themselves have bought into it.  Or if they haven’t, their passion to indict humanity from the most extreme, far-left, fearmongering worldview imaginable has caused them to suspend basic logic.  Blindness is not a film of challenging thoughts or deep insight; rather, it’s so agenda-driven (bludgeoning us with its “We only need a leader with vision” sermon) that it loses touch with any semblance of complex realities.  For a film that’s supposed to be about how blind we are to our own true natures, it’s a tall irony indeed how blind the filmmakers are to their own outrageous (even hateful) biases. It’s especially a shame as director Fernando Meirelles’ previous films (City of God, The Constant Gardener) are perceptive and credible.  They, too, explore extreme circumstances, but do so in a real-world context.  Here, it’s as if our current culture is a callous, dystopian “Big Brother” society that is just one crisis away from revealing its full Fascist reality.  To make that statement about a third-world military dictatorship would be one thing; to make it of contemporary America (even with all its challenges, faults and hypocrisies) is something else entirely—i.e. completely ridiculous. The press materials for the film describe it as a journey that “shines a light on the dangerous fragility of society and the exhilarating spirit of humanity.”  To which I say:  bull.  Go blow that pretentious, elite hogwash somewhere else.  This may play in the arty bubble of the Cannes Film Festival (where it premiered), but it provides no substance to (and therefore has no place in) any basic intellectual examination about the state of modern civilization. Or to put it simply, Blindness is the type of conceited, preachy and odious indie filmmaking that drives people who dare give it a shot right back to the safe refuge of mindless, studio blockbusters.  Artistic snobs can blame the unsophisticated tastes of the common man for the propensity of dumb movies that Hollywood churns out (and they’d partially be right), but films on the opposite end of the spectrum—like Blindness—are equally responsible.  CAUTIONS: googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-2'); }); if (gptClientWidth >= 992 && gptClientWidth <= 1000000) googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('gpt-ad-3'); }); Drugs/Alcohol:  Some drinking of wine, but overall minimal. Language/Profanity:  While not constant, most profanities are used throughout. Sexual Content/Nudity:  Nudity of both sexes, including frontal, but always in callous ways (example: blind people, devoid of care, walk around naked in a stupor).  An act of infidelity is depicted in fairly explicit terms.  Multiple rapes occur (see next section). Violence/Other:  Multiple rapes occur, even simultaneously.  Once scene could be best described as an orgy of rape.  It all occurs in very dark shadows so, visually, it’s not brazenly explicit.  Still, with what is shown added with what is heard—and that the moments happen at length rather than briefly—it should be categorized as explicit.  Stabbings and gun violence also occur, and the moments are fairly brutal. Jeffrey Huston is a film director, writer and producer at Steelehouse Productions in Tulsa, Okla.  He is also cohost of  the "Steelehouse Podcast,” along with Steelehouse Executive Creative Mark Steele, where each week they discuss God in pop culture.  To listen to the weekly podcast, please visit www.steelehouse.com or click here.  You can also subscribe to the "Steelehouse Podcast” through iTunes.  ]]>
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    (Review Source)

Kelly Jane Torrance1
The Weekly Standard



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)


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