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It does the opposite of what it sets out to do.



The blind protesting Blindness, on the stated basis that it treats them as helpless, has been mocked aplenty. So let me make the movie's offence more explicit: It's so patronizing, and convinced of its artistic importance, it achieves the opposite of its humanistic aims.

A sudden, unexplained epidemic of blindness isn't considered with sadness or loss, just familiar horror movie effect. The effort to add allegory and provocation to this "scary" disability is silly, then annoying, then excruciating. Fernando Meirelles, having used Africa's suffering as a backdrop for his white heroes' love story in The Constant Gardener, now falsely empathizes with the visually impaired by turning Blindness into a zombie quarantine movie. As a metaphor for social breakdown, it goes nowhere new.

Written by Don McKellar, and based on the Nobel Prize-winning novel by José Saramago, Blindness reeks of privileged condescension. Drowned in artiness, Meirelles' heavily desaturated images that attempt to represent white blindness are a visual crutch, not an inspired style. Only the opening minutes carry any tension. From there, it's a pure vanity project---deluded and endless.

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