‘Blindness’ turns to blandness after climax

When a disease that causes blindness ravages a city, what happens when quarantine fails to contain it?
Directed by Fernando Meirelles, “Blindness” starts off in a crowded intersection with the first casualty of “white blindness” being a victim who sees nothing but white. One by one, everybody in the city is blinded by this sickness including a doctor (Mark Ruffalo), his wife (Julianne Moore) and a bartender (Gael Garcia Bernal). The only person not afflicted is the doctor’s wife.
All of the people that get blinded are ordered to go to quarantine in an abandoned mental hospital. The doctor’s wife lies about being blind in order to go with her husband.
Once in quarantine, the bartender declares himself “king”, dictating to the rest of the people how they should get their food.In order to stop this madness, the doctor’s wife must find a way to overpower the bartender and his cronies and escape quarantine.
“Blindness” is based on the Jose Saramago novel “Ensaio Sobre a Cegueira.” The movie was the opening film for the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the festival’s Golden Palm award.
While “Blindness” is promising from the get-go as the disease tightens its grip across the city, as soon as people enter the abandoned hospital, the story slowly descends into a deep, dark place.
Madness soon takes over as urine and excrement are seen everywhere due to lack of restrooms. Yet as soon as the movie reaches its climax, it becomes very slow. This two-hour movie should have been trimmed down by at least 10 minutes.
While this movie has a good ensemble, none of the performances from the actors really stand out. They act like they have never been blind, which is as much in-depth acting as performances can get in the movie.
Meirelles also directed the acclaimed foreign film “City of God” and the Oscar-winning film “The Constant Gardener” before directing “Blindness.” He does as much as he can with the film, yet it does not improve by much.
I have to credit Cesar Charlone for his amazing cinematography. It was shot with stunning camera movements across a city’s barren streets ravaged with debris and empty cars taking up space. One can definitely tell that this movie was shot out of the United States, but I would not have thought that this was shot in Canada, Uruguay and Brazil.
Although points can be given to the film’s cinematography for making the movie highly alluring, “Blindness” starts out strong but then becomes exceedingly uninteresting after its climax.
BLINDNESS: 2 stars out of 5

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