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I struggled with this film the first time I tried to watch it. I found it too stylised, and ended up dismissing it as arty and pretentious after half an hour, because it seemed to be trying too hard to be different.
But it seems that I myself was suffering from a form of blindness.
You see, that’s what sometimes happens when you fall into the multi-tasking trap. I can’t be alone in this. You come home, you check the post, feed the cats, answer the phone, and attempt to get into a film at the same time. Sound familiar?
Fortunately, I was persuaded to give this film another go. And, when my colleagues pointed out the importance of the film’s visual style, I restrained my multi-tasking limbs, blocked out all external distractions, and focused all my attention on the screen.
And I was truly amazed how this movie drew me in. I couldn’t pull myself away.
It’s set in an unnamed city in the States. When a blindness virus rips through the population, the authorities start herding the victims away in an attempt to control the outbreak. In a disused hospital where the stricken have been quarantined, a doctor’s wife (Julianne Moore) pretends to be blind so that she can stay beside her sightless husband.
This movie is stylised, but for good reason. Because sight is the film’s key theme, the over-exposed visual style and frequent white screen breaks are constant reminders of the sightless world of its characters. At the same time, the cold and unflattering cinematography conveys Julianne Moore’s character’s increasing sense of isolation as the only seeing person.
Cleverly painting a picture of the gradual break down of a society, it really makes you think and I found it lingered in my mind for days afterwards.
Blindness is showing on Sky Movies Premiere tonight at 12.15 am