October 02, 2008


Grindhouse Presents...

Grade: C

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Starring: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Danny Glover, Alice Braga, Yusuke Iseya, and Gael Garcia Bernal

MPAA Rating: R

Running Time: 2 hours

Who does not like a healthy dose of nihilism in their movies now and again? The problem with Fernando Meirelles’ Blindness is that the end of civilization has never looked so bleak and irredeemable.

As an outbreak of blindness suddenly afflicts the world’s populous, the first patch of victims are quarantined inside a dilapidated hospital. Among their number are an eye doctor (Mark Ruffalo) and his wife (Julianne Moore), the latter being the only sighted person in the number. Frustration leads to unrest leads to disintegration as the blind patients divide into tribes, one of which hijacks the hospital’s food supply and begins to ration it out for a price: first valuables, then sexual favors. The latter sequence is a scene brutally raw that could have been audacious if it were not so utterly ugly.

About the time the patients start running the asylum, they discover that the rest of the world is also in the dark. That leads to an extended coda showcasing a society gone mad just before Meirelles (City of God; The Constant Gardner) and screenwriter Don McKellar, adapting Jose Saramago’s novel, flash a light at the end of the tunnel. It is a giant shoulder shrug capping off an art-house, high-gloss B-horror film that does not have the strength – or humanity – of its ambitions.

Neil Morris

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