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Rated M

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Stars: Jeff Bridges, Rachel Weisz, Chiewetel Ejiofor, Tim Robbins

Roderick (Bridges), a jaded infomercial host disillusioned with his craft, has suddenly found himself without a job, without a wife and sitting at home, drinking himself to death in an orgy of self-pity. Until a meeting with a mysterious gypsy woman (Robbins) causes him to pursue happiness through his new, selfless purpose – stabbing random strangers in the eyes.

Cassavetes, who last tugged at our heartstrings with his gritty story of black market organ trading My Sister’s Keeper, has here crafted a quiet personal drama of rare power. His long, lingering close-ups suit the subject matter perfectly, particularly a touching ten-minute sequence where Roderick pokes tentatively at a pair of disembodied eyeballs to find out “how gooey they are” – Cassavetes lets his camera stay fixed on Bridges’s tortured-yet-giggling expression for the entire time, risking derision and even sleep for his audience in pursuit of the ultimate emotional pay-off.

The director is well-served by his brilliant cast. Bridges, as the depressed middle-aged man finding himself, is stunning. Having reportedly trained full-time for six months for the role, he utterly convinces the audience that he can throw a knitting needle with uncanny accuracy. His transformation from cynical, world-weary TV mop-seller to rejuvenated, inspirational eye-poker is portrayed with a subtlety and quiet strength rarely seen in big-budget blockbusters these days (the reported final budget was over $200 million, most of it on prosthetic eyeballs). The childlike wonder he displays at his first, almost-accidental blinding, makes us laugh and “awwww” in equal measure, while his climactic “Your eyes have made me see” speech, delivered whilst balancing precariously atop the Swiss National Museum, will soon take its place beside Braveheart and Return of the King in the honour roll of inspirational movie orations.

Not that Bridges is alone. Rachel Weisz, as the sassy single mother who falls for Roderick after he breaks into her house and blinds her toddler daughter, is a delight, pulling off a flawless Chinese accent and showing that she can tap dance with the best of them. Ejiofor, as Bridges’s Olympic swimmer best friend, steals several scenes with his high-pitched whine and extravagant hand gestures, while Robbins is perfectly cast as the gypsy woman who turns Roderick’s life around, but whose insatiable sexual appetite makes him doubt himself at the crucial moment. There are also nice minor turns from Andie MacDowell as Roderick’s ex-wife and Zac Efron as a conniving US Senator.

By turns poignant, tragic, hilarious, tense and uplifting, Random Acts of Blindness is a superior adult-oriented drama that will make you believe in the eternal capacity of human beings for change, growth, and horrific graphic violence.

****

A New Era

Good evening and welcome to a new era in hypothetical filmmaking. I am your host, Ben Pobjie, and this blog is here to help.

How often do you go to the movies full of anticipation at the coming entertainment treat, only to walk out of the cinema complex and immediately commit suicide? Not often, perhaps, but more often than you’d like? I thought so. The reason for this is the remarkably poor quality of modern moviemaking. Gone is the Golden Age of Hollywood, gone the giants – Tyrone Power, Jessie Matthews, Keenan Wynn – who bestrode our imaginations like Leviathan.

Take the recent film “Avatar”, for example, by well-known “director”, James “Cameron”. Perhaps I am alone, but I felt woefully let down by this film. Not only was the dialogue unrealistic, the plot incoherent and the helicopters aerodynamically sub-optimal, the special effects were woeful. Presumably budget constraints were responsible for this, but I think from a major Hollywood blockbuster we can expect more than miserly corner-cutting. Surely, in post-production, someone must have noticed that most of the major characters were coming out blue?

Whose fault was it? Who knows? Perhaps it was the editor, perhaps it was the CG team, perhaps it was poor lighting, but it didn’t stop there. Not only did the post snafu result in a most unrealistic blue tinge to characters’ skins, some of them appeared ridiculously large – about nine feet tall, which looked especially ridiculous when they stood next to other characters who remained normal size. Why didn’t Cameron pick up the inconsistency and demand all characters be made the same size? And at one point I saw a dog with six legs. Come on!

And it’s this kind of shoddy make-do attitude that I am confronting with this blog. This blog is for those who like to dream. To dream of a better world. Lots of blogs feature reviews of current movies on release. Some even feature reviews of famous or forgotten films of yesteryear.

Not this blog. This blog is for reviews of the movies that might be. The movies that as yet exist only in our imagination, but hopefully, with some gentle nudging of the cinematic elite, particularly from myself, will someday come to pass.

In essence, this is a blog which will be devoted to honest, hard-hitting reviews of movies that don’t yet exist, but which – God-willing, once the reviews have been disseminated – will do so in the not too distant future.

And of course, when they do, you will be well-armed, via reading this blog, with all the information you need to tell you which of them are likely to take your fancy.

Think of it as a window and a guide to the future. Your future. At the movies.

Grab your popcorn and settle in. It’s time to have a sneak-peek at the must-see movie events of who-knows-when?