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Where did I put my contacts! Blindness Review


An untraceable sight-removing epidemic strikes an undisclosed metropolis in Fernando Meirelles' perception-challenging “Blindness.” Based on the award-winning novel by José Saramago, strangers meet when a white light takes away their vision. They are lead by a woman (Julianne Moore) who pretends to be afflicted to safeguard her optometrist husband (Mark Ruffalo) when the victims are secluded in an abandoned penitentiary.

The Doctor's Wife, who like all the characters in this story is nameless, is spectator to the atrocities men wreak when a vital sense is obstructed. Military enforcement keeps the exiles from the outside world; the only information coming in is via the increasing number of blinded victims.

Chaos strikes the penitentiary when the balance of power shifts in Ward 3, led by the Bartender (Gael Garcia Bernal). The occupants of Ward 3 have food and supplies and they extort the residents of Ward 1, where the Doctor's Wife lives.

The Bartender, carrying a loaded gun and aided by an actual blind man (Maury Chaykin) who gathers information using Braille, forces his rivals to give up everything from their material possessions to their dignity by proposing copulation to the women for food. The Optometrist's Wife, against the wishes of her husband, takes the initiative to spark a war against Ward 3, igniting carnage.

Fernando Meirelles considers the possibilities when massive disease disrupts the guise of civility we claim to live by. Social barriers, like money and status, mean nothing when desperation and survival compensate for the sense lost. Morals and laws that make us progressive are revealed to be thin as people destroy each another on sheer instinct.

However, Meirelles argues that empathy can also be heightened. The Doctor's Wife becomes the mother of this unfathomed family, and the prejudices they had before are gone. These strangers share an emotional bond more powerful than their vision.

No bonfire is needed; the film manages to avoid a “Kumbaya” sing-along, even when some references to racism and poverty are thrown in - as if to let us know that we need to treat each other better, flirting in the enunciations of “Babel” and the broad, banal and highly overrated “Crash.”

What makes this movie worth your time is Fernando Meirelles' ability to depict this destroyed world. A bleached-out effect surrounds each frame, and we are never clear whether our own perspective has been tricked. Things that we didn't see, like a table, appear to characters as they collide into them, while the undesired sex scene is shot so obtusely only the sounds of unwanted moans serve as evidence.

Julianne Moore does a nice job as a normal housewife who is put on the spot, combining her innate strength with her pale, earth-tone features. The rest of the cast is decent, including Alicia Braga as this story's Mary Magdalene and Danny Glover as the humble elder who realizes that this occurrence could be the miracle he had sought all his life.

Source of the Bitter: John Rojas

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