Based on José Saramago's allegorical novel, "Blindness" is a haunting film that works like an unusual fusion of fable and gritty suspense. Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo star as an unnamed, married couple living in an unidentified city where a mass epidemic of blindness hits. Ruffalo's character, a doctor, is affected, but Moore's is not. When the two are transferred to a government-run quarantine facility complete with armed guards, they soon find themselves in a rapidly deteriorating situation. Criminals take over food distribution and extort possessions and sex from the innocent. Sanitation becomes a thing of the past. More subtly, rules that might govern one's judgement and behavior on an everyday basis simply vanish, and personal and collective values rewrite themselves. Moore's character hides the fact that she can see (except from her spouse), and thus becomes the audience's surrogate in the thick of so much misery. She also becomes an avenging angel at exactly the right time, and then a matriarch when the action shifts from the quarantine hell to the city's streets. The latter part of "Blindness" finds a handful of the inmates (played by Danny Glover and Alice Braga, among others) joining Moore and Ruffalo in a kind of post-apocalypse oasis, a chapter as touching as the previous chapters were nightmarish.
Director Fernando Meirelles deftly captures the film's spirit of mixed parable and horror, grounding the action but at the same time encouraging a viewer not to take it too literally. He honors Saramago's creative depiction of blindness not as a field of black but, in this case, as an ocean of white. He also does some tricky, disorienting things with the camera, shooting at odd angles, putting his frame around strange details in a scene--all of it has a way of giving a viewer a feeling of what it's like to perceive the world in a whole new way. "--Tom Keogh"