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The ViewWellington Review

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Review byMatthew Turner20/11/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 121 mins

Stylishly directed and superbly acted, this is a dark, disturbing and provocative sci-fi flick that is genuinely chilling.

What's it all about?
When a man (Yusuke Iseya) suddenly goes blind while driving home, his wife (Yoshino Kimura) rushes him to a doctor (Mark Ruffalo), who is powerless to help. The next day, everyone who came into contact with the man has also gone blind and, as the disease spreads, the paranoid authorities round up all the newly blind victims (including the doctor, the Japanese man and their wives) and quarantine them in an abandoned asylum.

However, the doctor's wife (Julianne Moore) is only feigning blindness in order to stay with her husband. But as the contagion spreads in the outside world, the overcrowded asylum descends into chaos, with one inmate (Gael Garcia Bernal) declaring himself The King of Ward Three and demanding first jewellery and then sex in exchange for food rations.

The Good
Directed by Fernando Meirelles and based on a novel by Jose Saramago, Blindness is essentially an arthouse version of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi story. It also presents a thoroughly depressing allegory about social degradation in our disaster-prone times – indeed, the overriding message from the film is that, with maybe a handful of exceptions, human beings are a pretty nasty lot.

Moore and Ruffalo are both great and there's strong support from Danny Glover (as a fellow victim) and Alice Braga (as a prostitute), while Maury Chaykin is both sleazy and deeply disturbing as an already blind man who exploits his new-found superiority.

The Great
The film is strikingly shot, using washed-out colours and a predominantly white palette. In addition, Meirelles orchestrates some extraordinarily tense scenes that will stay with you long after you leave the cinema.

However, the film is not without problems: for example, the script spends far too long in the asylum, while it's hard to believe Moore's character would allow such terrible things to happen before taking action.

Worth seeing?
Blindness is a powerful, impressively made and ultimately moving film that deserves to be seen. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 23/11/2019 07:25

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