So I just finished watching a movie that actually made me angry it was so bad: Blindness. It’s about what happens when a large city is suddenly affected by a mass outbreak of blindness, specifically the circumstances surrounding a woman mysteriously immune to the disease and her husband in one of the quarantine centers.
Those of you familiar with my wide-ranging, eclectic, omnivorous taste in movies may be surprised to find that there are, in fact, movies I don’t like. It’s rare, but it does happen.
My main complaint about this movie is its complete lack of realism. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for fantasy, science fiction, sentient grapefruits, whatever – but not in a movie that is supposed to take place in our real, contemporary world. If it’s a movie that supposed to take place in “the real world”, then the people better behave like real people or the whole thing just becomes an exercise in stupidity.
To avoid spoiling plot points, I won’t list some of the more annoying examples until the end of the post (after the “Read on …” break). For now, suffice to say – many of the reactions of both individuals and the government / military are just stupid, and ridiculously contrived to fit the plot rather than to make any sense.
That right there was enough to destroy the entire film for me. I barely cared about any of the characters because they didn’t register as ‘real’ people, just actors going through their badly-written motions.
The reason this made me angry is because the premise of the film is awesome, could have really explored some interesting, thought provoking stuff. Instead it used that premise to shoehorn in nonsensical scenes and belabor obvious points.
Giving this one a score of 4 out of 10. It would have been lower, but there were glimpses here and there of much better material hidden beneath the tripe.
Here are just some of the things that really irked me – a complete list would take days to write!
- Very first scene: a man stopped in his car at a traffic light suddenly goes blind, attracting a small crowd of good Samaritans trying to help him out. Does anyone call an ambulance? Of course not – instead they just let the first shady dude who says “Hey, I can drive him home.” hop in the car with him and take off.
- And does that man want to go to the hospital? Nah, he’d rather go home so he can take a nap – because, you know, being struck blind for no apparent reason isn’t terrifying or anything, it’s more like having a headache.
- I understand the story is trying to touch on some modern Lord of the Flies type territory – a good and lofty goal. But it still has to make sense. There’s no way things in the quarantine wards would have devolved that badly, that fast. No doctors, no military inside to supervise things? Make sure things run smoothly? They’re just going to drop them off by the van-load, loads of blind people, and tell them to feel their way inside, fend for themselves, and not come outside unless they want to be shot? Perhaps this was meant to be a remake of Escape From New York.
- Speaking of the soldiers – they seemed a bit trigger happy to me (yes, one of them muttered to himself about not wanting to shoot innocent people – just before he shot innocent people). It reminded me of some of the characters in various zombie movies who shoot zombies for recreation. That I can see – because that thing shambling around is no longer human, it’s just walking meat. Making the leap that someone who’s gone blind is as dehumanized as a flesh-eating ghoul … I don’t see it.
- Julianne Moore’s character is, as far anyone in the movie can tell, the only person in the entire city who is immune to the disease. Does she try to let anyone in authority know? Let the government know that she is immune so that they can maybe run a few tests and try to find a cure based on her immunity? The thought never crosses her mind (and she’s the hero of the film!).
- Finally, the most infuriating point of all – Julianne Moore’s character, the sighted woman, allows a group of blind thugs to not only hoard all the food and steal anything of value, but also offers herself and all the other women up to be gang raped (resulting in at least one of the women dying from the wounds received). I’m supposed to empathize with this character? Utterly, irredeemably, ridiculous. Yes, the thugs, the BLIND thugs, have a single revolver. One sighted woman with a lead pipe would tear through that room like a boxer in a room full of toddlers. Sloppy, lazy writing (one thing I truly can not stand).
I certainly can’t say this is the worst movie I’ve ever seen. But it could have been so, so much better.