I praise directors, writers, and actors for being honest, but Michael Mailer’s drama Blind reminded me of how honesty can actually damage a movie.
Most of the dialogue written by screenwriter John Buffalo Mailer is really sappy – like, really sappy. It’s the type of writing you expect will evoke quivering lips as the actors try to stay in character without breaking out into giggles. Instead, surprisingly enough, everyone commits to the material and the audience are the ones struggling to hold back laughter. Actor Dylan McDermott commits in another way that suggests he’s the only person who caught on to the transparency in Blind. However, McDermott makes a poor decision to “play up” his crooked role with over-the-top testosterone.
Blind lacks good judgement. An exchange between a vision-impaired novelist (Alec Baldwin) and his volunteer reader (Demi Moore) featuring sensual face touching is supposed to be a sentimental turning point in their relationship, but the emotion is undercut by soft lighting and its cheesy atmosphere. It gets more awkward when Moore reacts by blindfolding herself to see what he sees. Moore’s character comes from a sexy lifestyle, which the film tries to amplify with dawn-out lavish details and a saxophonist occupying the background. Meanwhile, Baldwin, who looks off-centre to portray his disability, can’t stop inspiring students despite being a profane and abusive guy.
When Moore and Baldwin are split up, Blind fades fast. However, in an odd turn of opposites, their chemistry together is strangely endearing. They could’ve easily played their celebrity cards to shrug off this indie and cash in an easy paycheque, yet they resist. Believe it or not, that previously honesty starts to benefit the film. Even though the film throws some ridiculous lines and melodramatic situations at the actors, they perform diligently and make lemonade out of every single lemon that is lobbed their way.
I don’t have much appreciation for Blind, but I certainly have newfound respect for how Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore – a couple of good sports – approach their craft.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie