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Tuesday, September 2, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 74.0° F  A Few Clouds
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Blindness: The vision thing
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In the increasingly grand tradition of Children of Men, 28 Days Later and I Am Legend, Blindness takes us to the end of civilization and just keeps going, showing us what it'll be like when all the things that hold us together have disappeared. This time, it's an epidemic of "the white sickness" that sends the world into...well, not darkness, exactly, since the afflicted perceive a sea of milky whiteness. But a quarantine is soon instituted, and life inside the walls is a Hobbesian nightmare, society forced to reconstitute itself from the ground up. That, by the way, appears to be what the movie's about: how low we'll stoop when there's nothing to keep us from stooping even lower. None are as blind as those who've lost their consciences.

Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore play a couple thrown into the maelstrom, Ruffalo unable to see, Moore mysteriously still blessed with vision. The movie spends most of its time in what soon feels like a concentration camp. And the challenge, as always, is to hold on to as much of your humanity as possible. On paper, Blindness is like a really depressing episode of The Twilight Zone. On screen, it's like a vision of hell. And director Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener) is all about the vision thing. He constantly fusses with the image, pitching us into darkness, then fading to white. We're supposed to read it all as an allegory, course. We're already blind to one another's needs, fighting for scraps. But if you can just see your way to the end, you may detect, amidst the rubble, a ray of hope.

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