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Intensity In Ten Cities

by Andrew Green

Here's a film that I recently found out is considered very offensive by many in the blind community. I'm not sure why; I think it's just because somebody has to get offended whenever anything happens, or anything is made by anybody.

I dunno. That's a rule now, right?

Blindness (2008)

Netflix description:
"After a plague of blindness overtakes the residents of a city, all sense of order breaks loose in the hospital where the victims are being quarantined. It's up to a woman (Julianne Moore) who's keeping her sight a secret to lead a group safely to the streets. Gael García Bernal, Mark Ruffalo, Sandra Oh and Danny Glover also star in this psychological thriller, an adaptation of José Saramago's gripping masterpiece."

What an incredible movie. Blindness starts out like a horror film, but develops into a fascinating, near-epic, examination of human beings under high stress. In the beginning, one random man goes blind. He's just driving one day, and BAM -- totally blind. In the coming days, several others start losing their vision in a similar manner. All of them have had contact with the first guy, so it's obviously some kind of disease spreading. As more victims are reported, the government panics, and rounds them up into a sort of concentration camp, where they're left to fend for themselves, save for the occasional drop of rations. The infected start to form their own tribes within the containment wards, and things go drastically downhill from there.

Blindness is an intense, unpredictable reflection on the horrors of which people are capable when placed in desperate situations. As the world collapses outside the wards, brutality reigns within them.Julianne Moore is like a Mother Teresa figure who goes voluntarily into one of the wards to care for the blind. She's certain to become infected also, but follows her husband in, anyway. The only character who can see, we watch events unfold through her perspective. Others in the wards, though somewhat one-dimensional, are likable and interesting, as well. Mark Ruffalo as the optometrist who first dealt with the strange new disease is probably my favorite, although I tend to like him in anything.

The scope of this film surprised me. Whenever I thought that it MUST be just about over, another major turn in the plot would arise, and by the time credits rolled, I was quite satisfied that all bases had been covered. Many critics felt that Blindness was meandering, but I personally had no trouble staying fully engaged in this excellent movie. Great ending, too. I highly recommend it.

5 out of 5.