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By Rory L. Aronsky | January 28, 2005

In desolate areas that were good enough for Jim Jarmusch, Terence Malick, and David Gordon Green, Talmage Cooley puts his camera to wide abandoned parking lots, tangles of dying weeds, and a group of blind guys, two named Mike and Joey, living in those parts of Buffalo, New York, where a train rolls solemnly past at one point.

Mike’s been blind at birth, Joey was shaken by his father as an infant which led to blindness, but they both remain fast friends. And friends are exactly what are needed in this place of sublime views. Like “George Washington”, it almost requires a mental double-take in believing that these places exist in the U.S., but they do. While cities burst with humanity, like a broken beehive relieved of its occupants, these places are basically gone from the eye of major populations. Cooley has a distinct advantage with it, a real find for sure, and the story involving Mike and Joey is interesting enough, including a few moments where Mike has to contend with what is probably the end of his relationship with a girl named Theresa, whom is only seen in a brief shot. Mike also explains how he uses his walking stick, and a few others explain that while they can’t see the people around them, it doesn’t mean they’re completely blind to it all.

One of the odder moments is when Cooley doesn’t allow emotions to emerge completely. Mike argues on the phone with Theresa and there’s a cut to a roaring waterfall, with both boys standing in front of it. It’s symbolism gone slightly awry, since the real drama lies in that phone conversation. The scenery is the saving grace here, showing the good of filmmakers like Talmage Cooley, among countless others. They bring to us what others refuse to present: An out-and-out sense of the world around us, and not just those parts we’re comfortable with, can relate to, or are inundated with constantly.

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