Blindness * * *

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Director Fernando Meirelles.
Screenplay: Don McKellar.
Starring: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Gael Garcia Bernal, Danny Glover, Alice Braga, Sandra Oh, Maury Chaykin, Don McKellar, Douglas Silva.

After “City of God” in 2002, Fernando Meirelles has been a director that has really caught my interest, but his follow up “The Constant Gardener” in 2005, was somewhat disappointing and lethargic and this film suffers from similiar problems.

A wife (Julianne Moore) and a doctor (Mark Ruffalo) inhabit an unknown, modern American city that finds itself in an outbreak of sudden blindness and as panic soon strikes, the casualties are quarantined in an old hospital where after mistreatment and neglect, they start to form their own internal society with a reversion to barbarism.

An apocalyptic film from Meirelles which after his previous films is not surprising. He seems to focus on the sheer animal instinct in mankind and has no problem painting the picture of how easily we can be so brutal to one another when our societal structure breaks down and disharmony takes over. Each character is deliberately non-descript and unknown here and yet again Meirelles crafts a visually appropriate style to the story. Julianne Moore is absolutely brilliant (as usual) as the loyal and compassionate wife who has inexplicably retained her vision and the rest of the cast are entirely convincing with their ‘ghost’ like movements of blind people, maintaining very little eye-contact and enforced clumsiness. Everything about the look and feel of this society is bleak and uneasy but that’s also the problem with the pacing of the film. It starts off brilliantly, grabs you by the hand and guides you on but, like it’s characters, it unreliably leaves you stumbling and bumping into a few things now and again along the way.

A promising start, but ultimately a bit of a let down from Meirelles.

Mark Walker

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