Soon, the trapped and blind inhabitants take sides. Tempers flare and the ugliness of human nature is shown. Meanwhile, one woman inside can see it all.
That about sums up the premise of Blindness, Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles’s tale that is part Lord of the Flies with a hint of The Happening . Comparisons to the director are earlier critically acclaimed and award-winning work (City of God and The Constant Gardener ) are hard to escape and that’s unfortunate.
Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffolo are the central characters here. Like everyone else, their names and backgrounds are never revealed. Ruffalo plays an eye doctor who gets infected with the random blindness.
Moore is the wife who is somehow immune to the disease but pretends otherwise to accompany her husband.
Then, civilization begins to deteriorate when food resources run low and authority is nowhere to be found. Gael Garcia Bernal, Danny Glover and Alice Bargo all have crucial roles as part of the infected crew.
Fine performances by Moore and Bernal (the main villain) anchor a story that starts out like an intriguing mystery and quickly becomes an intense social satire.
What’s important aren’t the whys and the hows (the cause of the disease or why Moore is immune is never explained), but how humanity muddles through it all.
The anonymity of the characters and setting only backs the point. It all makes for a thought provoking time, but one wishes Meirelle was able to follow up his acclaimed films with someone to root for.