“Blind” is a Norweigan film that tells the story of recently a recently blinded woman named Ingrid (Petersen) who, as one might guess, is having a difficult time dealing with her newfound ailment. She refuses to leave the house and seems to spend her days sitting in a chair by a window with her phone, computer and a radio within reach, awaiting her husband’s return from work. Although blind, this film is told by Ingrid both visually and via a voice over which takes the form of what seems to be a book being read. “Blind” takes a turn for the dark as slowly Ingrid gets the feeling her husband is heading out to work only to sneak back in and watch her throughout the day.
That description is somewhat boring compared to what actually transpires onscreen as Ingrid spends more and more time in her own head. She tells the audience she takes time every day to remember faces, buildings, objects and animals, but that doctors have told her these will all fade away as a lack of optic stimulation eventually eats away at memory. This is a clever way to show Ingrid is a very unreliable narrator, and writer/director Eskil Vogt finds some truly original and unique ways to express this to the audience.
Reviewing “Blind” is no easy task as the film eventually fragments off into two (or maybe three or four) side plots involving people in very different states of loneliness and aloneness. To say much about these would give away much of what makes “Blind” not only a very good film but also an extremely smart look at how people can spend so much time inside their own heads that the machinations therein start to make life seem woozy and out of focus. Reality becomes blurred as well and we either seek professional help or become some kind of weird, self-loathing shut in.
While a less assured filmmaker might rely too heavily on the sheer creepiness of suddenly not being able to see, Vogt takes the story to other levels and adds depth and sadness that, again, could have been blatant and easy with a lovely looking woman who has suddenly been stricken blind. I was truly surprised this is his first feature as a director.
Petersen as Ingrid is outstanding and without her presence and acting, I’m not sure how “deep” this film would feel. Ingrid is at once shattered, sad and scared, yet is still the same person she was: sexual, interesting and fun. But her blindness has rendered the former her a shadow, at least in her own mind. Henrik Rafaelsen, as her husband Morten, also does a solid job sort of playing the straight man to Ingrid and the other characters that wander in and out of the film. Rather than play the role as a put-upon man who either deserves better or could be better at taking care of his wife, Rafaelsen remains likable, yet also very sad but for very different reasons.
“Blind” also features some pretty intense and graphic scenes of pornography early on that I’m not entirely sure need to be there or even serve the film. But if that sort of thing offends you, try and stick it out passed those scenes as they take place early, are short and don’t make another appearance again. “Blind” is a very well done film with an extremely smart screenplay. Based on it, I’m excited to go back and watch Vogt’s other work and see what he comes up with next.