Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo
Doctor: (who is blind, addressing a room full of blind people) Ok, I think he’s right. If anyone’s willing to go, I think you should raise your hands.
Other person: …what?
Doctor: That’s about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever suggested…
A strange “white blindness” starts to spread across the country, and the government, thinking a disease is responsible, begins packing the crippled people into containment facilities, leaving them to survive mostly on their own. Julianne Moore plays a doctor’s wife who pretends she’s blind in order to accompany her husband to the facility he’s taken to. Once inside, the question becomes will these people come together to help each other, or will it become every man and woman for themselves?
This comes close to being a fairly good movie, but it manages to fall a bit short. It has an interesting, dream-like look to it throughout, which works pretty well to help us identify with the situation the characters are in. It also does a good job of creating a miserable world inside the containment facility that all these people have to survive in, unsupervised by any sighted people to help them. The stuff that doesn’t work is the heavy-handed message that if we’re all blind to appearances, things would be better in the world. Seems like a noble message, but the movie seems to contradict its own premise as we see the different wards in the facility basically go to war with each other.
After several rapes and murders have occured, Danny Glover’s speech near the end about how he wishes things could stay this way, with everyone blind, seems foolish. I suppose he’s just referring to the small group that has emerged from the facility alive, as friends, but we can’t forget the events that preceded their bonding moments.
There are good performances and some decent writing, though I thought Julianne Moore let things go too far with the other ward, to an unrealistic extent. As the only person with sight there, she could have easily brought an end to the terrorizing that some of the characters were unleashing on the rest of the occupants. Especially when the threat of mass rape entered into play.
In the end, I wanted to like the movie more than it seemed to let me like it. The horribleness of the situation works well, but the message it seems to want to say doesn’t. Also, if you noticed that I haven’t used any character names, that’s because nobody’s name is said in the movie. That’s more of the effort to put everybody on equal ground.
10 – 2 for the message of the movie not really working well – 1.5 for unbelievable character motivations/actions – .5 for never really supplying any explanation, or even real theories or hints as to what is happening and why + .3 for a good sense of realism = 6.3