Running time: 121 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 18
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 10th October 2009.
PLEASE NOTE: POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
Brought to us by the same man, Fernando Meirelles, who gave us City Of God (2002), which I thought to be a quite brilliant film. I will tell you my thoughts on this one at the end of this review. It is set in modern times where first one man goes blind, and then more and more. The condition spreads very rapidly and the authorities act quickly to put all those affected into quarantine. A doctor finds himself afflicted and quarantined. His wife, not wishing to be separated from him, feigns blindness and is quarantined with him.
This is where the main body of the film takes place. More and more people arrive and the doctor’s wife manages to help as best she can without giving away her secret. But with more people, all blind, comes more problems, and eventually the unsavoury side of human nature begins to emerge. As food supplies become short grievances are raised. It seems that they are cut off from the outside world with minimal contact with the guards, who don’t want to become ‘infected’. An old man with an eye patch arrives with a radio, and for a while they have a little news, but eventually internal battles become the main concern.
This is not a film without a soul; I will tell you that there is a quite excellent ending that, for most, gives them hope. Some excellent use of the camera, I found the shooting style very pleasing to the eye and very sympathetic to the subject matter. I also found the use of language quite interesting, a Japanese couple, when speaking to each other talk in their native tongue, when conversing with everyone else, they speak English. Excellent performances from all of the main cast, in particular, Julianne Moore as the doctor’s wife, Mark Ruffalo as the doctor, Danny Glover as the man with the eye patch, Yusuke Iseya as the first blind man and Yoshino Kimura as the first blind man’s wife.
Throughout the film our emotions are taken on a ride. I found it a very emotional piece because I could see that there are (unfortunately) people in this world that would take advantage of a situation in the way certain individuals are portrayed here. As with City Of God, Fernando Meirelles knows just how to show the worst aspects of human nature, I really hated certain characters, so he did his job well. Over all, an enthralling and very thoughtful drama. It made me question how I might react in a similar situation, but I really enjoyed it in the end.
My score: 8.5/10
IMDb Site: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0861689/