The most recent example of bleak chic, Fernando Meirelless mostly harrowing adaptation of José Saramagos international bestseller Blindness is unflinching at best and treacly at worst. The film, like the novel, opens with a man (Yusuke Iseya) in a car stopped at a traffic light who suddenly loses his vision. Another man (screenwriter Don McKellar), who drives him home and later steals his car, also falls prey to the mysterious white blindness, as does the first victims doctor (Mark Ruffalo). Soon, the entire human population finds itself engulfed in a milky sightlessness save, inexplicably, one: the doctors wife (Julianne Moore). Meirelles, working with his Brazilian cinematographer, César Charlone, establishes the plagues outbreak with visual flair, evoking the experience of the ivory blindness through blurry and brightly overexposed frames. Like Saramago, Meirelles doesnt much care about the medical or psychological specifics of blindness, nor is he interested in the fate of any one human, but rather humanity as a whole. (Theres obviously a grand metaphor herepeople are blindbut its pretty simplistic.) Blindness is strongest when its not trying to say anything, but instead conveying the sheer desperation of its characters. The film pulls the viewer into its nightmarish vision and dares us to watch how humankindat the level of both governments and individualsfails to cope in times of chaos. And considering the current headlines, maybe thats insightful enough.
Fernando MeirellesMark Ruffalo, Julianne Moore, Sandra Oh, Gael García Bernal, Danny Glover, Alice Braga, Maury Chaykin, Don McKellar, Martha Burns, Michael MahonenJosé Saramago, Don McKellarNiv Fichman, Andrea Barata Ribeiro, Sonoko SakaiMiramax