MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Blind’ Is A Striking And Haunting Debut

Blind-review

Film: Blind
Starring: Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Vera Vitali
Directed by: Eskil Vogt

The human mind recedes to some dark places when things important to us are taken away abruptly. In Blind, a middle-aged woman from Oslo loses her sight. The power to see is lost and her power to visualize the world she can’t see is underdeveloped. Norwegian filmmaker Eskil Vogt, who wrote the emotional devastation called Oslo, August 31st, makes his directorial debut with a clever, haunting and emotionally resonant film about what happens when we lose all control.

Ingrid (Ellen Dorit Petersen) recently lost her eyesight for reasons largely unknown. Instead of seeking out help or therapy by way of a seeing eye dog or learning to read braille, she practically becomes a social introvert in her Oslo apartment. Her husband, Morten (Henrik Rafaelsen), is growing more and more tired of her detachment with the outside world and slowly drifts away from her emotionally. Ingrid senses this so she types away, making up people in her head that best reflect her psychological handicaps. Einar (Marius Kolbenstvedt) is one of those machinations, overweight and no one to love. Also, addicted to porn. Elin (Vera Vitali) is the second, recently divorced with no one to love.

Blind constantly plays with the viewer’s perceptions. Can Ingrid’s made-up characters actually be real and could they be the reason her husband is drifting away? The lack of intimacy in their relationship is almost as crippling to her as her loss of sight is. This is where Blind sets off in motion some heady eroticism. Whether that sits well with you or pushes you further away from the emotional core of the story is another question.

Above all, Blind is a story about identity and how we see ourselves versus how others see us. And Vogt pulls it off with striking imagery that will linger with you far after the credits roll. The structure of the story is that of a multi-layered puzzle, constantly playing with the viewer’s perception of what is real to the story. Layers upon layers of Ingrid’s conceit shows up in raw form with Elin and Eichar. The settings around them and defining points change as the film goes on until Ingrid loses control of her creations. These people are real and who is she to define who they are? Now, only if Ingrid thought the same way about how her loss of sight controls her.

Ingrid’s versions of Einar and Elin are somewhat hollow, as if they are puppets (they are). Blind makes the incredible feat of filling these husks of characters with genuine human emotion towards the end instead of just existing as psychological projections of Ingrid. On the other hand, Vogt’s debut isn’t the kind of film that will constantly engage with your heart. It’s much more interested in playing with your head, and it works.

As you may have noticed in this review, Blind is not a film you will have a good read on after one viewing. It demands multiple viewings. The constantly shifting narrative isn’t some parlor trick either; it’s calculated to make moments land harder. So, you know what you should do this weekend? Watch Blind.

GRADE: B

Blind opened theatrically in NYC this past Friday, will open in LA next Friday and is now available to stream on Fandor!

Sam Cohen

Sam Cohen is that guy you can't have a conversation with without bringing up Michael Mann. He is also incapable of separating himself from his teenage angst (looking at you, Yellowcard). Read on as he tries to formulate words about movies!
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