Blindness (2008)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Blindness</strong> (2008)

(On Cable TV, November 2018) Some movies celebrate the human spirit, and some movies focus on the innate depravity of people. Guess to which category Blindness belongs to? Here’s a hint: In a universe where a disease is turning everyone blind, government inevitably resorts to concentration camps where the prisoners are left to fend off for themselves. Authoritarian rule quickly follow, along with resources hoarding and mandatory rapes because it’s that kind of story. There’s a voluntary vagueness to the film that is supposed to make it universal but instead comes across as indecisive—coupled with the intentional flight from realism, it does make Blindness a bit of a chore to get through. Once it’s clear that the film has allegorical points to score, it does become obvious in the way it goes to achieve them, and that the characters are mere puppets in that service. Still, those issues are more attributable to the source (Nobel-award-winning José Saramago’s novel) than the film adaptation itself: from a visual standpoint, it is handled with some skill and no one will dare say anything less than favourable about the performances of Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo in the lead roles. A few Canadian icons appear, most notably writer/director Don McKellar (who wrote but did not direct Blindness) in a small role. It’s unusually literary for a post-apocalyptic movie, but that doesn’t necessarily work in the film’s favour: instead, it seems to be pulling back from engaging with macroscopic ideas and locking itself up in its own pocket universe while everything degrades. Blindness is not guaranteed to be a good time for horror or Science Fiction fans.

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