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January 20, 2016

Blind

by Franz Patrick


Blind (2014)
★ / ★★★★

“Blind” is propelled by a specific, creative vision but it appears as though writer-director Eskil Vogt is unconcerned when it comes to pulling the audience into the story and its characters. What results is a barely watchable, rather fragile art piece, very cold, to be admired from at least ten meters away, our eyes squinting.

Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) has lost her sight and she struggles to acclimate to the demands of being able to see only darkness. She spends most of her time alone in her home, writing and imagining about other people’s lives. One day, while her husband is at work, she hears a noise in the apartment. She suspects that Morten (Henrik Rafaelsen) has only pretended to go to work—when he is really in another room, observing his wife’s daily activities. This suspicion triggers a creative spark inside of her.

The picture spends most of its time with Ingrid’s story. This might not have been a problem if the fantasy were as interesting as the protagonist’s strange situation. Einar (Marius Kolbenstvedt) is provided some quirks like being sexually aroused by high heels and pornographic material involving naked men being surrounded by fully-dressed women. Elin (Vera Vitali), a divorced woman whose life is defined by her children, is constantly watched by Einar. Not once does the screenplay create compelling situations when both are together or apart. It gets only marginally interesting when a characters expectation is shown and the reality is presented afterward.

Ingrid and Morten’s crumbling marriage is a curiosity but no tension is created between them. Because we only get Ingrid’s point of view, especially her drawn-out fantasies about his adultery, one or two scenes are amusing—Morten and Elin’s “date” comes to mind—but we can never shake off the feeling that she is being unfair to him. After all, she is the half of the unit that time again does not even try to communicate. Pay close attention to the scene where Morten tries to persuade Elin to a party that is very important to him and yet she uses every excuse in the book to not attend.

I found myself aligning my alliances with all of the other characters aside from the protagonist—which is bizarre because Ingrid narrates the story. I found her whiny, rather spoiled, cold and uncommunicative, and in desperate need of a counselor that might help with her depression combined with a general lack of effort. Even I hesitate the word “depression” because the screenplay fails to discern between major depression versus other types of mood disorders. Is Ingrid’s recent loss of eyesight purely coincidental?

The purposeful, almost defiant, opaqueness of “Blind,” where tone and mood are almost never on the same wavelength, is most off-putting. Its would-be cerebral and sensual images mix like oil and water which, admittedly, might appeal to a handful of viewers. But not to me. The film offers a most trying experience.

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