From watching the trailer for Blindness, you wouldn’t pick it to be an R18 rated film. You’d probably take a guess that it would be an M rated drama/conspiracy thriller. But Blindness has set its sights on a story of such a scale it will literally knock you for six.
The story begins slowly, with one man suddenly going bind in his car whilst at the lights, but as people come in contact with him, through coming to his aid or just being in the doctors waiting room, more and more people start to go blind. Seeing the warning signs of a pandemic, the government decides to act quickly, isolating the low number of cases in an abandoned high security medical facility. Dumping the infected at the door and giving them verbal instructions to where they need to go.
Such is the fear, that these men in bio suits won’t even show the infected few to their ward or help them make their beds. Fortunately the wife of doctor who is somehow immune has joined her husband by faking her own blindness. There is an uneasy calm in the ward, but as more and more people are admitted and not enough food is delivered, Blindness turns ugly, with the occupants of ward 3 taking control and ruling the institution Lord of the Flies’ style.
Things inside get so bad that the film justifies its R18 rating in at least one particularly disturbing scene, which despite the lack of visuals, is very difficult to watch, or listen to. This however is only the beginning as the story, running for close to two hours has a few tricks up it’s sleeve that elevates it from no brainer Hollywood thriller, to a though provoking look at society and the evil and good that lurks within each of us.
Filmed – in part – in a unique washed out style – imitating the white out that the infected suffer, Director Fernando Meirelles witches from bright light to gritty dark realism to bring this horrific vision to life with a chilling reality that allows the viewer to begin to empathise with the plight of those on screen – if only ridiculously small way.
With an outstanding cast, that includes Mark Ruffalo in a role that he initially seems out of his depth with, but goes on to nail along side his on-screen wife Julianne Moore who has possibly the hardest role as the only one who can see, Blindness comes out of relative obscurity due to poor cinema showings, but despite some obvious plot holes, manages to become one of the most compelling films on DVD this year.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read
Rating: [R18] Contains violence, sexual violence and offensive language
Released on: October 20th, 2009
Stars: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Danny Glover, Gael Garcia Bernal, Sandra Oh
Length (Minutes): 116
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Supported Audio: Dolby Digital Surround 5.1
Director: Meirelles. Fernando