A film featuring a prominent blind character
"Just because he's blind don't mean he's a fucking saint, bro"
Traditionally, blind people are seen by most people and portrayed in media as "frail" people, in contrast with the loss of any of the other senses (hearing, voice, etc.) Sure, there are some "fantastical" exceptions (Daredevil, Chirrut in Rogue One
), but the loss of sight is typically followed by the need of constant assistance. There is a film or TV show, which now escapes me, where someone disguises as a "blind man" to perform a heist or something, and when it is revealed, the character that unknowingly allowed it says in disbelief "but he's blind". The bottom line is that nobody expects shenanigans from "the blind guy". When approaching this project, I read that director and co-writer Fede Alvarez wanted to play with the idea of "taking 'abilities' away from the 'bad guy', instead of 'adding'", which is the basis of his 2016 "horror" thriller.
follows Rocky, Alex, and Money, a trio of petty thieves that rob houses using information from the security company of Alex's father. After a disappointing score, Alex (Dylan Minnette) is decided to step out while Rocky (Jane Levy) wants to move away from her alcoholic mother, along with her little sister. However, Money (Daniel Zovatto) learns of a potential target so they set out to perform the perennial "last score". The target? A 60-something, US Army veteran (Stephen Lang) that happens to be blind, who just received a court settlement after the death of his daughter in a car accident. Of course, being a Special Forces vet, the "blind man" turns out to be not as easy a target as they expected.
Overall, this was a surprisingly thrilling and well done film. The performances aren't anything to write home about, but they are solid. The real treat here is to see how Alvarez manages the tension and the setting of keeping this kids trapped inside the blind man's house. To achieve this, he uses several long takes and solid camera movement to keep us in the action. Alvarez also makes great use of the light (or lack of). There's a particularly effective moment where the "blind man" turns off the lights in the basement where the kids are hiding, which obviously puts him in advantage (after all, he's already blind). The way Alvarez shots the scene, putting us in the character's feet as they try to find their way, was one of the peaks of the film.
The film loses a bit of its grip towards the end as Alvarez and his co-writer, Rodo Sayagues, tries to stretch the plot more. There are about 4, maybe 5, "false endings" towards the end, which makes it feel like they weren't really sure how to finish things. There were 2 or 3 of those which would've been pretty dark and grim, and I could've been satisfied with. However, they chose an open ending, which wasn't bad, but not necessarily the most satisfying. Turns out they're somehow gearing up for a sequel, which ehhh, I'm not quite sure what to think of.
Despite its flaws towards the end, the film is a pretty well done thriller. There is still a certain darkness to how it ends, which goes back to the point I made in the opening paragraph. In the end, nobody expects any shenanigans from "the blind guy", but we all know he's not a fucking saint.