Location: Los Angeles, California

Monday, September 29, 2008

Defending Blindness

I'm starting to realize that I'm going to be in the minority when it comes to "Blindness." I feel that Fernando Meirelles' film is one of the year's best -- a spellbinding survival tale with hypnotic visuals and a superb lead performance from Julianne Moore.

But the reviews that have come out so far have been harsh. Many critics are slamming Meirelles' decision to bathe his compositions in a milky white as "showy" and " distracting." These are the same critics who had no problem with Alfonso Cuaron using extremely long takes and splattering blood on his camera lens in "Children of Men" (and I had no complaints about Cuaron's long takes either, even though there really wasn't any purpose for them).

"Blindness" is a cinematic cousin to "Children of Men." Both are great films about an ordinary person being called to do extraordinary things in a post-apocalyptic society. Both films have a mastery of image and sound that is very uncommon in Hollywood movies these days. And while "Children of Men" is the greater formal achievement, "Blindness" hit me in a way that "Children" never did.

What I'm talking about is that moment when a film makes the back of your neck tingle. That moment when you're completely absorbed in a movie and yet simultaneously aware of the fact that you're watching a wonderful film. Somehow, such a moment manages to stir your soul, and there's a very specific scene in "Blindness" that produced this reaction in me. I won't spoil it here.

But back to those negative reviews. I still need to wait a little bit longer -- I'm holding out hope that some people will join me in declaring the film a wholly successful work. But, if nobody agrees with me, oh well. I'm willing to defend "Blindness" to the end because in a sea of mediocrity, it stands out as being something special.


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