I think you can already guess what’s going to happen in the movie Blindness. However, this is only the beginning of the story, examining our society in the aftermath of a tragic event. So, Blindness is a slow-burning and thought-provoking thriller based on a novel written by José Saramago. It’s rather bleak and depressing, a post-apocalyptic story with a twist. The project was ambitious, perhaps a bit too ambitious for young Fernando Meirelles. You could say he bit off more than he could chew but at least he took a fucking bite.
The action starts right away, as a man mysteriously goes blind all of a sudden. The mystery surrounding this event and the ominous title of the movie, Blindness, push you to watch on. To find out what’s going on here and why. Additionally, you can’t help but wonder what would you do if you went blind all of a sudden. That’s a life-changing event right there. Moreover, how would your immediate environment react? And what would happen in the world if people suddenly started losing their eyesight?
As you can see, the story echoes the infamous virus premise from all of those post-apocalyptic zombie movies. However, since people affected do not want to eat your brains but just live a normal life, the story takes us in a whole ‘other direction. A much more subversive alleyway where you start thinking about just how fragile our society is. And how can it be brought down to its knees in mere moments? And if something like that can happen, that says a lot about our society today.
I will skip the usual short summary as I want you to delve into this movie with as little information as possible. Blindness is not your standard-issue Hollywood movie. This means that both the issues we will be exploring and the scenes we will be seeing have this subversive aspect to them. There will be uncomfortable and quite graphic scenes depicting the breakdown of society. After all, we all remember Meirelles’s 2002 masterpiece Cidade de Deus AKA City of Gods, and its atmosphere.
At times, Blindness will feel more like a horror movie than a drama, mystery, or even a thriller. Gritty and realistic, it unflinchingly asks the difficult questions that might take you to places you don’t necessarily want to go. They are places we should all go if we want to figure out what’s really going on and what we can do in this fucked up world of ours. Julianne Moore was fantastic here and I think without her committed performance, this movie would be much duller. The same thing happened with another mystery movie The Forgotten.
Mark Ruffalo and Alice Braga were also great. All of the actors went through special “blind camps” to help them understand the plight of their characters. For example, they would be driven to a part of a city blindfolded and left there, with one person looking after them. Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Blindness, The Road matches its gloomy and realistic vision of the future. However, I think that the German masterpiece The Experiment is a much better fit. Especially since it’s based on a wild true story.
Director: Fernando Meirelles
Writers: José Saramago, Don McKellar
Cast: Danny Glover, Mark Ruffalo, Julianne Moore, Gael García Bernal, Alice Braga
Fun Facts: Not a single name appears in the movie Blindness, the same as in the original novel.