Earlier tonight I went and saw Blindness, a movie about a disease that suddenly makes people blind, which they call “white blindness”. This disease ends up turning into a full blown epidemic, triggering the government to quarantine the sick into facilities in hopes of containing the outbreak. I had been wanting to see this movie for a while now, particularly because of the director, Fernando Meirelles, who directed City of God, and Julianne Moore, who’s a genius in everything she does.

I ended up loving the movie, and this is for many reasons. First, was Meirelles, and his amazing cinematographer, César Charlone. Every scene was absolutely stunning, whether it was showing what it would be like to be blind, or the gritty reality of being trapped in a facility with 100 other blind people. It felt like each scene and every shot was choreographed and planned down to the tiniest detail, nothing was taken for granted. A scene comes to mind where Julianne Moore is walking into the facility they’re quarantined in and she walks between some doorways which is surrounded by glass, showing her reflection from multiple angles all at once. It’s a totally surreal and beautiful moment, captured at the perfect angle.

Second was definitely the cast. Julianne Moore was by far the star of this movie, and she was all over the place emotionally, and truly was the guiding light of this whole film. There was also Mark Ruffalo, Alice Braga, Danny Glover, Gael García Bernal, Yusuke Iseya, Yoshino Kimura, and Mitchell Nye, a rather diverse cast that definitely gave the movie a feeling of taking place anywhere in the world. It’s also interesting to note that none of the character’s were ever called by a name, they were simply known as “doctor” or “lady”. It didn’t feel like it was done in a glaring, in your face kind of way, it really just made it feel like you could easily be one of those people.

My third favorite part was that the movie took place in no identifiable city or country. This was a stipulation made by the author of the book, José Saramago, who wrote the book which the movie is based on. While the movie was shot in São Paulo, I would say that most people watching the film would simply think it’s a big city, any city, somewhere in the world, yet again lending to the feeling that this could happen to you.

On sort of a side note, I had read that the National Federation of the Blind had condemned the film for it’s portrayal of the blind as “uncivilized, animalized creatures,” but I can’t imagine anyone leaving this movie feeling that way at all. If anything, I left the movie with a profound sense of joy that I am able to see all the wonderful sights our world holds. Watching a film like Blindness opens your eyes to the fact that most people take something like seeing for granted on a daily basis. And while the movie made me feel very tense, and it could be graphic and hard to watch in some parts, I still felt it was extremely well done and I highly suggest it to everyone.


16 Comments Blindness

  1. Sebastian October 6, 2008 at 2:10 AM

    If you love the movie, you will propably also love the book. It’s kinda haunting and will stay with you for a while.

  2. Rob McDougall October 6, 2008 at 7:21 AM

    Did you ever see Children of Men? Best cinematography I’ve seen in any commercial release in the last 5 years, easily…

  3. yudi October 6, 2008 at 8:03 AM

    you should really read the book. its one of those books that will stay would read again and again and again… no wonder jose saramago received the literature nobel-prize for it

  4. Justin R October 6, 2008 at 2:30 PM

    While I agree is was a pretty movie, it missed the point of the book, focusing too much on the gimmicks of the aesthetic, and not enough on the relationships. Too much time spent showing scenes of how the outbreak happened, when really in the book, that was not the focus.

  5. Bobby October 6, 2008 at 2:44 PM

    Justin: I’m of the mindset that you have to separate a book from it’s movie adaptation. A book is like the director’s cut of a movie, where you can get all the detail and nuisance that a film simply can’t contain.

  6. Maria October 6, 2008 at 7:27 PM

    After reading the book, I was pretty excited to hear there’d be a movie, but I’ve been disappointingly watching “rotten” reviews come in at Rotten Tomatoes. Anyway, glad to hear that your review is a good one. Maybe it can go back on my to-see list!

  7. jvc October 7, 2008 at 7:05 AM

    i kept hearing mixed reviews about it as well…so glad to hear from a source i trust that its good. The cinematographer is amazing! Oh, and the facility was all shot in guelph ontario…street stuff was sao paulo.

  8. jeff dixon October 7, 2008 at 12:05 PM

    While the visual style was effective, in my opinion the movie failed to capture the devastating descent into chaos found in the book. I enjoyed it, but did not think someone coming to it first would get the full impact.

    Watch those apostrophes! (character’s)

  9. Bobby October 7, 2008 at 12:09 PM

    Jeff: I definitely disagree, it felt like chaos the whole time and I couldn’t have been more tense. Seeing people walking around nude in their own excrement is a pretty jarring site.

  10. jeff dixon October 7, 2008 at 2:48 PM

    I’m glad to hear you were so affected. I’ve enjoyed many films of books that I haven’t read which were dismissed by their readers as lacking, so the phenomenon is nothing new.

    This director and cinematographer did their jobs well though, here and previously on The Constant Gardener.

  11. Ariel October 7, 2008 at 6:01 PM

    I hope the movie is great… but I could never compare it to the movie. That being said, YOUS MUST read the book, I really doubt the movie is as chaotic and tense as the book.

  12. Bobby October 7, 2008 at 6:04 PM

    Ariel: What if I told you I projectile vomitted, would that make it better?!

  13. Juan josé October 10, 2008 at 6:05 PM

    Here in Mexico the book is pretty popular, but ironically the movie isn’t well known, in fact, it haven’t premiered yet. Combining a José Saramago story with the Fernando Meirelles style should be pretty good.

  14. Vítor October 10, 2008 at 7:04 PM

    Wow! What a surprise to see a post about Blindness! I loved the movie too and I’m very sad about how it was received by the critics in the US… I just don’t get it. It is fantastic and It’s good to know someone liked it!

    Here in Brazil (yes, I’m brazilian), people also loved the film. Critics and audience. Maybe because of Meirelles, I don’t know.

    Oh, and I totally agree that you have to separate a book from it’s movie adaptation.


  15. V October 11, 2008 at 11:13 AM

    This sounds fantastic. I woke up today thinking it’d be a lovely day for a bike to the movies tonight. Hopefully this is playing in Chicago!

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