How to describe this oddball film called LAND OF THE BLIND? It's part political satire, part
thriller, part black comedy. Writer-director Robert Edwards also borrows heavily from other
well-known novels, plays and feature films. There's a touch of QUILLS -- Donald Sutherland
portrays a writer imprisoned for his radical beliefs who ends up using his own feces to write slogans
on the wall. There's a dash of EVITA in Lara Flynn Boyle's portrayal of a former actress now married
to the head of state. There's a direct reference to Peter Brook's classic MARAT/SADE. If you look
closely, you will find traces of BRAVE NEW WORLD and 1984 as well as parallels to real-life
politicians and historical figures. Since the head of state Maximilian (Tom Hollander mixing black
humor with an iron fist) is the son of the former President, certain American families are called to
mind. Maximilian also has a penchant for writing and directing terrible movies which may lead some
to think of North Korea's Kim Jong-il. What it all adds up to, though, is something of a mishmash.
Edwards managed to attract top tier talent to his screenplay. In addition to Sutherland, Boyle
and Hollander, the film stars Ralph Fiennes as Joe, a soldier who throws his lot with Sutherland's
radicals only to fall afoul of them when they are in power. Laura Fraser is briefly seen as Fiennes'
The script is ambitious -- to say the least. I enjoyed some of the film, particularly the
performances of Hollander and Boyle (who here reminds the audience just how good an actress
she can be given strong material).
The film spins out of control at the end -- the audience isn't sure exactly what it is seeing on
screen -- reality or the fevered imagining of Fiennes' character. While the film's major theme dealing
with the failure of political revolution is quite impressive, its execution leaves the audience wanting.
Rating: C -
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and some sexual content/nudity
Running time: 110 mins.
|Land of the Blind
|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.