Sunday, 19 April 2009
It all starts with one man in an un-named city going blind. Whether from a virus, an infection, or some psychological disorder no-one knows: all the citizens know is that the blindness strikes without warning, and it's spreading. The government swiftly begins measures to contain its spread, rounding up the infected and locking them away in a disused hospital. Among those imprisoned is an eye doctor (Mark Ruffalo) and his wife (Julianne Moore). But as conditions deteriorate inside the hospital under the growing numbers of the blind, the doctor's wife has a secret: for some unexplained reason, she can still see. Director Fernando Mierelle's has lost none of the skill he showed in the astounding Children of Men, and this film displays numerous flashes of brilliance. The horrors of this situation are fully explored, in at times grueling and horrifying detail, while the moments of compassion and (most surprisingly of all) comedy are heartfelt and real. Unfortunately, it also displays a confused and at times clumsy plot with a wildly uneven tone and characters that are thinly sketched when depth is needed and lingered over when the film should be moving forward. Ironically, it's the lack of a clear vision that brings this film undone. It stumbles between being a metaphor for a crumbling society, a relationship drama and a survival horror, never setting out in a clear direction.
Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #449)