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Original Title:

South Korea 2011


Ahn Sang-hoon

Kim Ha-neul
Jo Hie-bong
Yoo Seung-ho
Yang Yeong-jo
Kim Mi-kyeong
Park Choong-seon

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Story: Min Soo-ah (Kim Ha-neul) attends the police academy and always has to keep an eye on her adopted brother who spends his nights on breakdance contests. When Soo-ah wants to bring him home, a quarral starts and the two have a car accident. Soo-ah loses her eyesight as a result and her adopted brother dies...
Three years later Soo-ah gets into a cab and the driver runs someone over. He claims that it was just a dog, but Soo-ah doesn't believe him and wants to call the police. The driver flees the scene and the police doesn't take her report serious. Therefore, detective Jo (Jo Hie-bong) is assigned the case as some kind of punishment, but to his surprise he gets far more useful information from Soo-ah than he expected. It becomes more and more likeable that the man who commited the hit-and-run is actually a wanted serial killer. However, suddenly the teenager Gi-seob (Yoo Seung-ho) turns up and states that he has seen the car of the wanted man. And it surely wasn't a cab according to his statement. Detective Jo apparently has to start his investigation from scratch again, while the killer is still roaming freely.

Review: Do we really need another thriller in which a blind witness helps solving a murder case? At least the movie's title doesn't give any reason for false hope. Yes, "Blind" may be quite entertaining, but it is also full of clichés and a predictable suspense arc the kind of you just would expect of such a movie. This even goes so far as to make you scratch your head and wonder if that really is everything that you get or if there maybe isn't some kind of final twist that brings some inventiveness to the movie after all. The disappointing answer to that is simply: It really is all we get. With "Blind" you get exactly the kind of thriller you expect.

Let's just start with the movie's weaknesses. Three years after losing her eyesight Soo-ah still doesn't manage to cook on her own? You would be amazed what new situations people are capable of adopting to. Three years apparently aren't enough for the protagonist, though. She is drawn as a woman constantly in need of help, yet her pride doesn't allow her to get any. What's really annoying is the fact that she apparently has only learnt how to cope with her handicap as if she had lost her eyesight just a few weeks before. Contrary to that she shows almost supernatural abilities when it comes to acquiring information which she derives from the appearance of other people.

I want to be honest, whether I want it or not there is just something about Kim Ha-neul ("Almost Love", "Dead Friend") I don't like. Putting that aside she also isn't a great actress. However, she always does her job well enough for her not to stick out in a bad way, as is the case here once again. During emotional scenes her acting resctrictions become obvious, though. The villain of the movie is simply evil, because he is the villain after all. You won't find a real motive. Making up for that is detective Jo who can score with being a lot smarter than you would expect because of his comiclike looks. Unfortunately, he vanishes into the background towards the end and makes way for the teenager Gi-seob, who Soo-ah, for whatever reasons, starts to develop sisterly feelings for. Most likely because the screenplay wanted to complete the cycle concerning her brother killed in an accident.

"Blind" can score with some technical gadgets, at times we get to see how Soo-ah perceives her surroundings in a sonar-like manner, even though this luckily never becomes a supernatural feat. Some of the sets are well done, too, the idea with the mobile phone camera which Gi-seob makes use of to get Soo-ah out of a dangerous situation is pretty inventive, yet despite those well achieved moments the film is made according to familiar formula. The showdown is predictable and oftentimes the detectives as well as other individuals act incredibly stupid only for the screenplay to be able to confront Soo-ah with the killer in a house that she can't escape from. However, Soo-ah actually doesn't deserve any better. No one would shed a tear about her because it's especially her who often acts in such a dim-witted manner that we have to slap our forehead.

Director Ahn Sang-hoon, who already shot a thriller way behind its potential called "Arang", frequently doesn't seem to know when to call it a day. A dramatic scene involving Soo-ah's guide dog works out surprisingly well only to be exploited so much that it completely loses its emotional impact. Especially the emotional scenes should have been worked on more, even the more concerning the story about Soo-ah's brother which would have given room for way more complex feelings. Strangely enough "Blind" can also be astonishingly merciless and almost becomes a really gritty thriller. But in the end this is still just an entertaining, yet quite uninspired Hollywood clone, which for that reason alone will surely be released overseas as well.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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