You don’t really see a lot of movies about blind people, but this year at Fantastic Fest we have two: Aardvark, and as the title suggests, Blind. And you see even fewer movies about blind people kicking ass and solving crimes (Daredevil?), which is exactly what happens in both of these. Blind, from Korean director Ahn Sang-hoon, manages to be hilarious, violent as hell, and heartfelt (often one right after the other) which results in a movie that’s incredibly entertaining, and was a great way to start off Fantastic Fest 2011.
Min Soo-ah, the main character, has nothing but good intentions, but unfortunately for her they often end in disaster. Lives are endangered and her eyes are lost, just because she was trying to do the right thing. Ultimately, the situation that she gets herself into forces her to team up with the police and do a little detective work of her own, which as you can probably imagine, isn’t the easiest thing in the world. The fact that she can’t see gives her a massive disadvantage, which everyone around her is keen to point out and exploit, which is why watching her utilize methods that no one else would think of to even the odds was easily my favorite thing about the movie.
Both Ha-Neul Kim, who plays Soo-ah in the film, and the rest of the supporting cast do a great job of bringing their characters to life, and they’re aided by the fact that they have a great script to work off of. The chemistry here is incredible, and even characters who I couldn’t stand as they were first introduced became favorites of mine as soon as they started getting developed. There’s a strong element of teamwork that carries the film, and every member of the team does their part to figure out what the hell’s going on.
The action here is really strong, and each scene has a clear purpose that drives the story forwards. Even without sight, Soo-ah pulls off some pretty amazing things, aided by her furry companion (yes, a seeing-eye dog) and her ever so trusty iPhone 4. If I were Apple, I would get behind this movie full force, because it makes the iPhone seem like the most useful and life-saving thing on the planet. And no, it doesn’t just feel like product placement. It’s just useful technology being utilized in a way that absolutely works, and makes total sense for the situations that happen. When people in this movie need to get something done, they use everything they have to do it, which makes them seem smart (Hollywood, take note) and just feels right.
For nearly its entire run time, Blind had me hooked. At certain points it gets damn close to perfection, but falls just a little bit short. The intro of the film is just ridiculously cheesy, especially due to the very soap opera-esque soundtrack, and made me think that I’d be in for a totally different sort of movie-going experience. And likewise, the end of the film had a bit too much melodrama for my taste, especially after an intense and awesome build up where once again, the characters are actually smart. But even with a few flaws, Blind is an incredible film, one that I’ll be buying as soon as it hits Blu-ray, and I highly recommend that you do the same.