It’s especially a shame as director Fernando Meirelles’ previous films (City of God, The Constant Gardener) are perceptive and credible.  They, too, explore extreme circumstances, but do so in a real-world context.  Here, it’s as if our current culture is a callous, dystopian “Big Brother” society that is just one crisis away from revealing its full Fascist reality.  To make that statement about a third-world military dictatorship would be one thing; to make it of contemporary America (even with all its challenges, faults and hypocrisies) is something else entirely—i.e. completely ridiculous.

The press materials for the film describe it as a journey that “shines a light on the dangerous fragility of society and the exhilarating spirit of humanity.”  To which I say:  bull.  Go blow that pretentious, elite hogwash somewhere else.  This may play in the arty bubble of the Cannes Film Festival (where it premiered), but it provides no substance to (and therefore has no place in) any basic intellectual examination about the state of modern civilization.

Or to put it simply, Blindness is the type of conceited, preachy and odious indie filmmaking that drives people who dare give it a shot right back to the safe refuge of mindless, studio blockbusters.  Artistic snobs can blame the unsophisticated tastes of the common man for the propensity of dumb movies that Hollywood churns out (and they’d partially be right), but films on the opposite end of the spectrum—like Blindness—are equally responsible. 

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Some drinking of wine, but overall minimal.
  • Language/Profanity:  While not constant, most profanities are used throughout.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity:  Nudity of both sexes, including frontal, but always in callous ways (example: blind people, devoid of care, walk around naked in a stupor).  An act of infidelity is depicted in fairly explicit terms.  Multiple rapes occur (see next section).
  • Violence/Other:  Multiple rapes occur, even simultaneously.  Once scene could be best described as an orgy of rape.  It all occurs in very dark shadows so, visually, it’s not brazenly explicit.  Still, with what is shown added with what is heard—and that the moments happen at length rather than briefly—it should be categorized as explicit.  Stabbings and gun violence also occur, and the moments are fairly brutal.

Jeffrey Huston is a film director, writer and producer at Steelehouse Productions in Tulsa, Okla.  He is also cohost of  the "Steelehouse Podcast,” along with Steelehouse Executive Creative Mark Steele, where each week they discuss God in pop culture. 

To listen to the weekly podcast, please visit www.steelehouse.com or click here.  You can also subscribe to the "Steelehouse Podcast” through iTunes.