Tuesday, August 9, 2011

365 Movies Day #134 "Blindness"

This film by Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles is pretty difficult to watch. Not because it's a bad movie. It's a wonderful film. It's because it takes you to some very bad places that you don't want to go.

When I was working in Modern Combatives we had a takedown that involved simply covering the eyes and applying force. The target would back away from anything threatening the eyes with such speed that they would help you slam them to the floor. Some of our worst fears involve damage to the eyes. It makes me cringe. What is it that we fear? Is it not having eyes...or losing our sight.

The film begins with an epidemic disease that simply claims the victim's site. It's not fatal. It doesn't have any other complications at all. But the fear of living in darkness drives the people to quarantine all of those afflicted with little to no aid from the outside world. They are segregated to the point that anyone trying to escape will be shot.

There are a few familiar faces to the blog beginning with the first victim of the disease played by Yƻsuke Iseya (Koyata from "13 ASSASSINS"). Sandra Oh ("DEFENDOR") who most would recognize from "Grey's Anatomy" also makes an appearance.

The film stars Mark Ruffalo, a favorite actor of mine who will be taking over for Ed Norton as Bruce Banner in the upcoming "Avengers" flick. You'll hear more about him later. Ruffalo plays a doctor who is stricken with the disease. His wife, played by the lovely Julianne Moore ("30 Rock", "Hannibal", "Boogie Nights") is not afflicted but pretends to be to accompany her husband. Danny Glover and Alice Braga ("Predators") round out the cast and Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal plays a chilling bastard in this one.

Once locked in on their own, many of the diseased are struggling with new found fear and feelings of inadequacy (Ruffalo included). Moore is gifted as the only person in the facility capable of actually seeing. Which, when things turn south is also somewhat of a boon. Struggling to form some sort of organization amongst themselves to maintain order, some (Bernal) take it upon themselves to use violence and coercion to get what they want. What ensues is a deeply disturbed criticism of the darkness that lurks within man in the vein of Robert Kirkman's "Walking Dead". The characters are put through horrors and face things that will have you hurting for them and wondering how much of what is depicted would be factual if the events actually occurred. It's scary and it's a well done flick.


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