Film Review: Blindness (2008)

Blindness, directed by Fernando Meirelles and Screenwritten by Don McKellar is a great film, not flashy or gordy but well penned and well told. Based on the 1995 novel by José Saramago, it’s story of epidemic blindness infecting the globe and the consequences of a lone individual retaining her sight.

I’m quite proud of the author wanting the film to maintain a strong allusion to the novel; he was “suspicious of the film industry and had therefore resisted other studios’ efforts to obtain the rights through large sums of money alone“. I hole heartedly agree with him on this, so often studios take something that is great on novel format and dumb it down thus casting a wider net for audiences in attempt to make as much money as possible. There are some books that this isn’t as much of a problem, JK Rowling for instance wanted the Harry Potter films to be enjoyable to watch by sacrificing parts certain plot lines but enforcing others (such as Kreacher in Order of the Phoenix).

The characters have no names, no history, focusing your attention on their actions to the situation at hand. You feel the burden of the Sighted Character’s dilemma and her internal struggle as greed and the lust for power festers. Her optimism is constantly tested as she literally watched the indignity and moral decline of those in her stead and her willingness to submit to it herself.

My personal reflection after taking in the behaviour of the devious blinded by the sickness it amplifies how bad things really could get if the protagonist hadn’t been so kind. Indeed even the sighted’s wardrobe tried to personify her angelic behaviour.

I don’t mind scary movies, I usually laugh at them, but this is by far the scariest film I have reviewed in recent history, not because of my fear of losing my sight but the decline of humanity when everyone is in such a dire situation. I hope that if a disaster does strike (and if Nostradamous predicted highly it may do so in December 2012) that communities will form rather than gangs, but alas nature is survival of the fittest, and the best fit is usually the strongest.

Unfortunately this film on condemned by the Blind Community for suggesting that “Blind people do not behave like uncivilized, animalized creatures“, I certainly don’t think they do. I think that the Human Race can in an anarchical world behave badly, and unfortunately, the pre-White-Sickness-blind fall into that category. Luckily the author José Saramago responds: “Stupidity doesn’t choose between the blind and the non-blind”, he’s quite right, anyone can jump to wrong conclusions, Just because it involves a topic doesn’t necessarily mean its about it.

Cracking film. But be warned there are some graphic scenes.

  • Picture: 8/10
  • Sound: 8/10
  • Effects: N/A
  • Story: 9.5/10

Film Review: The Man from Earth

Before Star Wars made the dominant setting of pop culture Science Fiction in-space there were other stories that proposed the big “What if?” to a scientific reality and explored the repercussions of changing it. Older films didn’t have the ability to make billions of polygons dance on screen so they had to use plot and intrigue to grip an audiences attention, the ones that did survive in general knowledge to this day.

The film starts with a tenure professor’s going away party, the intention being to make final farewells to his friends of the last ten years. The last remnants of his packing that are on show and spark questions that lead to the idea that he proposes to the group: “What if a man, from the Upper Palaeolithic survived until the present day?” The academics and guests proceed to follow the hypothesis through conversation and enquiry.

Despite only the briefest of movements on the porch the stage is the hosts lounge with the story progressing purely through the parties discussions. The dialogue grips your attention so much that you easily imagine entire realms of possibilities about when and what the ‘caveman’ experienced.

One idea presented is of the “all knowing immortal”; a 14,000 year old would only be able to learn upto the edge of published knowledge on a particular subject, the noosphere grows too fast for anyone able to keep up. As such his current preoccupation’s information would be current but the Literature Doctorate from a century ago would be mostly redundant.

Same goes for experiences, a singular viewpoint of his nearest 100 metres doesn’t allow for a great perspective of what the world was doing at any one moment. You might be able to relay key events if you’re part of them but anything important enough to be of note indirectly puts attention on you, something that could result in your secrets discovery. Such a lapse could have dire consequences since as an ageless prisoner you would be trapped in your own body with escape as your only hope whereas a mortals death or escape could be their release.

This is one of those rare films (and by proxy the book ) that deserves to be remembered for its examination of long life, something that although has been done before it is done in a way and to a greater extent that the Highlander cinema never did. A rarity with great plot writing has becoming so scarce in the mainstream.

If you enjoyed what they could squeeze into this 108 minute film then I suggest checking out the book by Jerome Bixby of the same name.

Rating: 92%

Film Review: Casino Royale

I’ve just been to see a special preview of the 21st Film in the Bond Franchise, Casino Royale. First and foremost Daniel Craig, yes he’s handsome, young but not too young, strong, virile and witty but he lacks the charm and charisma of previous (or future depending on your perspective) Bonds.

Don’t get me wrong, this is one of the better Bond films and certainly worth going to see at the cinema but it certainly isn’t the best. Its different approach to Bond, his reactions and the story whilst refreshing just seemed to drag down the pace we’re been accustomed to for the past 40 years. I mean no ‘Q’, No major gadgetry, no car chase what the hell happened? Okay they’ve shifted the original game from Baccarat to Texas Hold’em attributed to the recent development in Pop Culture so fellow gamblers empathise with the tension but it wasn’t enough to hold the film for me.

Special effects, as far as I could tell there weren’t any, so hurrah! The stunts looked real and from the glimpses I’ve seen on the television they were actually performed as opposed to using synthesbians.

All in all a good film, but if you were down to your last £10 and it came down to a choice between seeing this or getting a train ticket home I would get the train ticket. Worth a watch, perhaps a positive comment here or there but I’m not completely satisfied.

Film Review: A Sound of Thunder

A Sound of Thunder Butterfly on a dark background Movie Poster

Synopsis: In the future the ability to travel through time has been mastered and a new branch of the Government created to regulate the company “Time Safari” that uses this technology to travel to the Cretaceous period and take down an allosaurus 5 minutes before it dies. There are 3 rules: Don’t change anything in the past; don’t leave anything behind; and most important, don’t bring anything back…..

At the conclusion of this film I was left with thinking how unrepresentative the title of this film is, okay at a stretch you could associate the Dinosaurs foot-steps with the thunderous pound oh so brilliantly demonstrated in Jurassic Park, but as I say this is a stretch.

That being said there are many good points to this film, one of which is the post-modern environments the characters are placed in, the detail is comprehensive and the variety of extra elements such as the broad array of automobiles driving up and down the street. However when something affects the environment such as the pavement collapsing the street apparently has no depth and the illusion shattered (pun intended).

Edward Burns remains austere for the entirety of the film, perhaps its his guise for portraying the severity of the storyline or perhaps its something for more amateur… Ben Kingsley delivers a sturdy performance demonstrating that he’s always on his ‘A’ game even if the highest prospects of the film are sub-terrainian.

Reading further on this film and finds it was originally scheduled for realise in 2003 and only just made it to DVD now because the original production company went bankrupt, still you have to be amazed at the graphics quality in comparison to the big budget movies like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy that came out that year and they must’ve had at least 10 times the amount on CG imagery.

The premise is promising, reminiscent of Thrill Seekers, a low budget 90s film, also about the pitfalls of time travel, predictably even when rules are set by ourselves for the benefit of all humanity someone has to take a shortcut because their egomania deludes them into thinking they are above causality.

Certainly a blockbuster if a some post-production financial aid came through sooner or a some thorough dialogue adjustments made but sadly time travel doesn’t exist and we will never know. There are better films to spend your £3 rental on, ranking this one somewhere close to the top of the sucky film pile.

Rating: 48%

Film Review: Firewall

I’ve just finished watching the movie Firewall, it wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad it just was. Its one of those films that a select few revere (there always are a few) but I’m guessing the majority are like me and think “m’eh”.

In fifty years time it’ll be one of those films that put on in the middle of the day that when someone goes sifting through the TV guides looking for were it says in bold letters FILM: they’ll see this, skim the synopsis and more on for something more interesting. What I don’t understand is why the legend that is Harrison Ford got involved in it? I mean a living legend, he’s had a lot of high hitters ( for example 9 top 10 movies in the 1980s ) a slew of others since then. This it was just a little plain, yeah okay he’s getting on a bit but so was Sean Connery when he did Last Crusade or even later still Entrapment.

I just hope that the effort that when into this movie isn’t the same that gets applied to Indiana Jones 4 if it ever gets out of the pre-production stage.

Rating: 53%

Film Review: War of the Worlds

War Of The Worlds 2005 Film Poster

Another Tom Cruise film directed by Steven Speilberg, those that did enjoy Minority Report probably will enjoy this film; both exhibit fantastic special effects and good performances.

War of the Worlds brings two methods seldom used for protagonist movies to audiences, firstly we spend the majority of the film seeing the main character Ray Ferrier (Cruise) lead his family as fast as he can in the opposite direction to danger. Usually something expected of minor cast members, example in the film Independence Day where one of the main characters runs straight to his military base to help in the effort despite seeing everyone around him running to the hills. Whilst Ferrier’s behaviour adds to the suspense for roughly three quarters of the film there is the inevitable act of courage that is just enough to save the day and adds some hope to a seemingly dire situation.

The second which is held to rigidly we see everything the main cast see, on the one occasion when we might see a full blown military engagement with the enemy the main character charges to within meters of seeing the action in a vain attempt to stop his son going “unto the breach” and retreats to protect his youngest child and run for safety.

Whilst some scenes seem preposterous with the sheer volume of destruction shown its worth noting that such scenes are nothing short of what has been seen across the news in 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. I think that the scenes are creative a giving you a full grasp of the situation and drawing you in.

A film worth watching if only once, this will likely be revered for a decade or so but I doubt that it will hold it’s weight as long as 1953 H.G. Wells counterpart.

Rating: 67%