Action / Drama / Romance


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Hugo Weaving as Martin
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1hr 26 min
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23.976 fps
1hr 26 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Dennis Littrell 10 / 10

People can fool you

If you're blind people can fool you. They can lie to you. And if you're a photographer and you are blind, who will believe you? You need proof, and this is what Martin (Hugo Weaving) seeks. He is a man who projects onto others the lovelessness of his own soul. He believed as a child that his mother died to get away from the shame of having a son who was blind. Even as an adult he believed she lied to him. He goes to the mortuary and is led to her grave where he reads the head stone with his fingers. He asks the mortician if a coffin is sometimes buried empty. The mortician asks why anyone would do that. Martin suggests a prank. The mortician replies, "Seems like a pretty expensive prank." Martin spends his whole life obsessively seeking proof because he can trust no one. Until he meets Andy.

He trusts Andy.

It hardly need be said that Andy, played with boyish charm and just the right amount of discovery by Russell Crowe, will both disappoint Martin and teach him a lesson. Martin certainly needs some kind of lesson. He exploits his housekeeper Celia's obsessive love for him, tormenting her by keeping her on, while denying her love as he inflicts little humiliations. For her part Celia, played with a penetrating and desperate sexuality by Geneviève Picot, mothers him and seeks to dominate. She wants to keep Martin dependant on her in the hope that someday he will seek her love. She controls his life, teaching the dog to prefer her and to come to her when signaled. In her frustration she plays little tricks on Martin, such as putting objects in his path so he will run into them. When Andy threatens to become important to Martin, predictably she seduces him. Thus we have our triangle. Andy also serves as an objectifying device to underscore the obsessions of Martin and Celia.

Jocelyn Moorhouse wrote and directed this original little masterpiece of dark humor from down under. She carefully worked out the character-driven story so that humor and tragedy are in balance and we experience the revelations from the perspective of all three characters. Nothing is fake or hackneyed and no one point of view is preferred. She has the gift of seeing more than one side of the human condition, and it is this gift that makes her scenes so effective. Note that the drive-in theater scene depends on our knowing what Martin is doing and why, while seeing his actions from the point of view of the bikers. He faces the bikers from the driver's seat in the next car and holds up a packet of prophylactics. The biker guy looks over and thinks that he is being taunted by a "fag."

I have seen Moorhouse's How to Make an American Quilt (1995), which also explored the underlying psychological motives of human beings, but this is a better film. It will be interesting to see what she does next.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)

Reviewed by Kay-54 5 / 10

A little gem

If you are a Russell Crowe fan like me you owe it to yourself to go rent this early example of his work, which deservedly won many Australian film awards in 1991. The plot centers around 3 people - Martin (Hugo Weaving), blind since birth and distrustful of the world, his manipulative housekeeper Celia (Genevieve Picot), and Martin's young friend Andy (Crowe), whom he meets early in the movie. Martin feels that everyone lies to him, even his mother, because he is blind and "because they can." He takes pictures of his world in order to have "proof" that what people are telling him is true. Andy is the person he recruits to describe his photographs to him. The acting is first rate and the movie is in turn sad, funny, dark, and heart warming. In the end, Martin learns that although no one is perfect, sometimes you just have to trust in love. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Doug (padawandoug) 9 / 10

A Great Movie from Down Under, with better acting by Crowe than in Gladiator

This is, simply put, a great movie. I won't go into the plot too much, as many other commenters do a good job of that. But suffice to say, the trio of Russell Crowe, Hugo Weaving and Genevieve Picot do more acting in this movie than is contained in all of the blockbusters the first two have made since. (I haven't seen Picot in anything else, so can't comment on her subsequent choices.)

It is definitely a small movie. But that's not a bad thing. Most people's lives are small, and this movie is a good example of how even small events -- especially small events -- can have a huge impact on a person's life.

The essential thing about the movie is not that it's about a blind guy. It's about a guy who is incapable (at the beginning, anyway) of trust. Which is why he must have "proof" of everything around him in the form of photographs (which he, paradoxically, cannot see himself, but must have described to him). By the end of the movie, he has grown enough, or become desperate enough, to try to trust Andy, and show him the most "most important photo I've ever taken."

Genevieve Picot, as the suffering, love stricken housekeeper of Martin, is great. I wish I could see more of her work.

This movie also has some really funny moments, and yes, the funniest line is "I forgot." The second funniest is "Brian." See the movie and you will understand (and laugh your ass off too).

One final note: SEE THIS MOVIE!!!!! (Also: make sure to watch on a TV with good sound. It's important for the ending (the last moment before the credits roll).)

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