More proof that it's all in the execution: if someone told you a new movie's storyline was like Day Of The Triffids meets Doomsday, you might expect a crazy schlockfest of rubber monsters and kilt-flapping car chases. But then if you throw in that it stars Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, is based on a novel by a Nobel Prize-winning author and is done in the style of Children Of Men, suddenly the picture changes a bit. Spoilers ahead!
Blindness is based on a novel by Jose Saramago, who also wrote The Gospel According to Jesus Christ and Baltasar and Blimunda. Like Triffids, it deals with a mysterious plague of blindness that leaves almost everyone in a city unable to see. And like Triffids, it shows society breaking down and people descending into barbaric squalor in fairly short order. Unlike Triffids, however, the blind people still keep a lot of their humanity.
In the novel, all of the blind people are quarantined in an asylum where they live in squalor, until the soldiers guarding them go blind as well. But it looks like the movie will take a leaf from Doomsday's book and actually quarantine the entire city, walling it off to keep the infection from spreading.
Besides Moore, the film stars Mark Ruffalo as Moore's blind husband, a doctor, Danny Glover as the man with the black eyepatch, and Sandra Oh as the Minister of Health who seals off the city. (Yay, Sandra Oh!) It's directed by the Oscar-nominated Fernando Meirelles, who directed City Of God and The Constant Gardener.
Let's hope that this film does well enough that Meirelles, or someone, gets to film the sequel, which is even weirder. In Seeing, it's a few years later, and everyone's almost forgotten that nasty plague of blindness. Until the city holds an election, and almost all of the ballots turn up blank. Everybody decides to blame Julianne Moore's character, because she kept her sight during the plague. The literal blindness finally makes its transition into being figurative political blindness.