Everybody’s got somethin’ wrong with them.
Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) is, for unexplained reasons, blind. She wasn’t always blind, but right now, at this point in her life, she can’t see and she’s just trying to adjust. She’s thankful to have her husband around to help her whenever she needs it most, but for the most part, she’s left all alone during the day, with no one to talk to, or bother with but herself. While Ingrid’s going on dealing with her own issues, there’s other people having their own problems of sorts. One concerns an older guy that’s too busy looking at and jerking-off to porn, rather than actually going out there and trying to meet a nice girl; another one concerns a mom looking for love; and then of course, there’s Ingrid’s own husband who seems as if he’s finding it hard to deal with the situation he’s just been thrown into, as well, which leads him to possibly mess around a bit. But the real kicker is this: Are any of these stories real? Or are they all just wild and imaginative stories taking place inside of Ingrid’s head, so that she can pass the time more efficiently?
The answer, we may never know.
On the surface, Blind seems like the typical kind of art house fare that tries to be big and about something, but more often than not, feels like it’s over-stepping its limitations. Then, add on the fact that this flick is Norwegian, and already, I feel the sweet, sweet aroma of pretentiousness hitting me slap dab in the face. But surprisingly, Blind is not that kind of movie I expected it to be.
While it definitely starts out appearing to be a sad, look-at-me-crying-over-here kind of foreign drama, it instead turns out to be something much more playful and exciting. In a way, you could look at Blind as being Norwegian’s version of Stranger Than Fiction, but without ever trying too hard to bring its feel-good message to home. Most of the character’s here and the situations they’re in, all feel real and relatable, which makes most of Ingrid’s stories, albeit entertaining to watch, interesting at the same time.
Of course though, the movie does run the risk of allowing for certain subplots to over-take the central plot, which sort of does happen. After awhile, it does become clear that whatever Ingrid is going through, although tragic, doesn’t really do much to keep the movie afloat. The one subplot that really reached far was the one about the middle-aged dude who loves his porn for sure. I apologize that I’m blanking on the names of the characters and/or the names of the actual actors who portrayed them, too, but it should be known that this role was written perfectly for this fella.
He’s not just a creepy fella we literally first meet as he’s jerking-off to porn, but someone who is easy to feel sad for. We get to realize that he hasn’t done much of anything with his life, even though holding out much promise early-on, and it makes us want to see the best happen to him. And this is why, when writer/director Eskil Vogt gives this character the spotlight, the movie’s at its most insightful.
Any other times, it’s just interesting. Which is fine, too.
Where Vogt deserves credit is in keeping this movie evolving into being something more than just your traditional story about a random list of subplots that somehow, in some way, connect and further prove the fact that everybody on this planet is connected. Instead, it’s a movie that shows just how wacky and wild the imagination can run whenever it needs to be; though Ingrid may have her own problems to deal with, she finds a certain solace in making these stories up and, in ways, connecting to them on her own. While the whole idea of the gimmick is that we never exactly know whether these are actual stories to begin with doesn’t distract from the movie, or feel cheap, but instead, just add to the interest-factor.
I know I’ve used the word “interesting” or at least some form of it, a lot, but honestly, that’s what this movie is. It’s as Charlie Kaufman wrote a script, decide he wasn’t all that happy, gave it Vogt and said he could do whatever he wanted with it. There are occasional bits of humor and fun, but overall, it’s just a neat tale that definitely deserves to be checked out. Not just because it has a neat and fancy gimmick, but because it does something with that to help put us in the same mind-set as the character that we’re watching and studying.
Which was, again, another smart decision on the part of Vogt.
Sure, while Ingrid’s own personal story may not be the most exciting one of the bunch, she’s still the centerpiece of the movie and keeps its heart in-place, even when everything seems to get a bit out-of-whack. For one, Ellen Dorrit Petersen is very good in this role and shows that there’s a lot of different shades to this character than just, initially, seeming sad. Of course she’s upset about the condition she has, but she doesn’t cry or whine for our pity; instead, she tries to do something about it and find ways to make her herself feel better and get more accustom to it. It’s still a bit beyond me why Petersen decided to bleach her eyebrows, but either way, it worked as it made this character definitely pop-off the screen a whole lot more.
Whatever that accounts for.
Consensus: With a neat gimmick to work with, Blind is a fun tale that doesn’t always make perfect sense, but is at least a joy to watch because you never know where it’s going to end up next, or what it’s going to say about its characters.
7 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire