BlindnessDirected by: Fernando Meirelles Cast: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Alice Braga, Danny Glover, Gael Garcia Bernal Time: 2 hrs Rating: R
Plot: A city is suddenly struck by an epidemic of "white blindness." The blind are quarantined by the government and one woman (Moore) who can still has her sight lies to be with her husband (Ruffalo). They attempt to deal with the blindness as best they can.
Who’s It For? This is a different type of film and will most likely be a bit uncomfortable for some. There is a difficult rape scene and there is really no reason to have your kids see this film. You are also going to see naked bodies of all shapes and sizes.
Expectations: I read the book by José Saramago ... OK, that's not totally honest. I started reading the book, liked the concept, but got distracted with other things. My wife liked it though, and I was very interested in how this book could possibly translate to a film. Plus, Meirelles is the director behind The Constant Gardener and City of God, both amazing films.
Actors: Julianne Moore as The Doctor's Wife: Before the blindness hits, there is a great scene with Moore and Ruffalo showcasing how a married couple can easily slip away from each other's lives. And once in the quarantine, Blindness is really the story from Moore's perspective. She is the secret superhero. Score: 8
Mark Ruffalo as The Doctor: Just like "Lost," the doctor is the one naturally thrust in charge. There is one key moment where the doctor wants to take control and overpower the bully with a gun, but it's true fear that stops him from being a hero. Score: 7
Alice Braga as The Woman with the Dark Glasses: Braga is a prostitute who goes blind in the best possible way (if there is one). She quickly shows motherly compassion to a little boy, which seems a little out of place, but there are all these moments where we don't feel like we've been given enough back story. There is almost no time to think about it because we are just watching the struggle of this blind society. Score: 6
Danny Glover as The Man with the Black Eye Patch: Glover just kind of shows up out of no where and there isn't much explanation given. He also leaves on the eye patch which is kind of odd considering the situation everyone is in. He just doesn't seem to fit, which is unfortunate because he has one of the best scenes toward the end and a passionate reason to wish to remain blind. Score: 5
Gael García Bernal as The King of Ward Three: Once blind, this bartender decides to take control and asserts himself as the king. He is evil without remorse and his sidekick is naturally blind, played by character actor Maury Chaykin, giving him the perfect weapon to combat the Doctor's Wife. Score: 7
Talking: Blindness follows a certain pattern from films such as Lord of the Flies (not rings). When society breaks down and you attempt to build it back up with democracy, eventually someone will try to create a dictatorship. A great thing here is that the dialogue remains about the experience of blindness and doesn't get into political issues about a society's function. Score: 7
Sights & Sounds: For a film about being blind, there is a shocking amount of great visuals here. To create an edge, most films will use black or blue color films to make every thing a little darker. Blindness uses white with fantastic results. Score: 8
OVERALL Blindness is a film simply to experience. There isn't some awful plot to get in the way, there is no over explanation trying to rationalize what has happened and how it's happened. This is a film where you just get the what. And what occurs is that people go blind and have to deal with it. That's it, that's the film. It will (and should) make some people uncomfortable, but more importantly it's a unique film experience and that is something difficult to pull off. Score: 7/10