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Movie Review: Blindness

Alternate Title: Hearts of Darkness

Story: In an unnamed city that represents anywhere urban life an epidemic of sudden blindness erupts. Social order is quickly reduced to panic and fear. The Government responds by warehousing the people who were initially inflicted under the guise that this disease is contagious. The film is focused on Ward One in this prison. No one has a name. No one has a background. Everyone is leveled by this disease. An eye doctor's wife, who is not inflicted, enters the prison with her husband, pretending she is blind as well.

In the manner of disintegrating social order (think Lord of the Flies) people are reduced to characatures of themselves. They either rise to the occasion or are reduced to their most base levels. The characters are stripped of their backgrounds and identities and essentially have to reinvent themselves to survive.

It is a fascinating, dark and mostly depressing vision of humanity. The devolution of social order is the predominant theme. How people find their hearts in darkness is the light at the end of the tunnel. This film is not for everyone but if you want to see some visually impressive filmmaking with across the board terrific acting, check it out.

It was deftly directed by Fernando Meirelles and written by Don McKellar. It is based on José Saramago's Nobel Prize winning 1995 novel.
Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1i0a_QcLpQ

Acting: Julianne Moore as the Doctor’s Wife is fascinating to watch. Mark Ruffalo as the Doctor was a bit weak for me. Alice Braga, the Woman With Dark Glasses is beautiful and worked well Yusuke Iseya as the First Blind Man was a little stereotypical for my tastes. Yoshino Kimura as the First Blind Man’s Wife was grace under fire. Don McKellar as the Thief and is also the writer was great. Maury Chaykin as the despicable Accountant was perfect. Mitchell Nye as the token Boy, was fine but unnecessary to the film. Danny Glover as the Man With Black Eye Patch, was a medicated Danny Glover and Gael García Bernal as the very King of Ward Three, was, as always, beautiful (even when he is very very bad).

Trivia: This international cast and crew includes director Fernando Meirelles who was born in São Paulo City, Brazil. Alice Braga was also born in São Paulo City, Brazil and is the niece of actress Sonia Braga. Gael Garcia Bernal was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. Yuseke Iseya was born in Tokyo. Writer Don McKellar was born in Toronto.

Predilection: None

Critters: Lots of dogs. There is one very short disturbing scene where dogs are scavenging.

Food: Tiramisu, institutional rations, sardines, olives, oranges, peas and crackers

Sex Spectrum: Lots of sex, rape and nudity

Blatant Product Placement: Apple

Soundtrack: An exhilarating soundtrack by Marco Antônio Guimarães/Uakti

Opening Titles: An overview of normal traffic in the initially hit city.

Visual Art: Lots of the film is filled with high contrast lights, shadows and darkness. Very interesting camera work.

Theater Audience: Five other people

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: Rape is very squirmy.

Drift Factor: I was riveted throughout.

Predictability Level: Moderate (I did not read the book)

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Probably not - unless there is a nod for adaptation.

Big Screen or Rental: I always choose the big screen.

Length: Under two hours.