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Land of the Blind
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Reviews & Ratings for
Land of the Blind More at IMDbPro »

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66 out of 83 people found the following review useful:

A must see film

Author: rll-5 from United States
19 March 2006

It is a rare event when a feature film with two name stars, Fiennes and Sutherland in this case, can so eloquently capture the political atmosphere wafting across the world today. Robert Edward's 'Land of The Blind' does this and much more in the political thriller/drama/ comedy that manages to create an original film based on themes that have unfortunately not gone out of style.

While never overtly alluding to a specific regime, the film creates a world that is at once absurd and chilling. One moment you are watching a David Lynch take on a Banana Republic, and the next you are thrown into 1950's Kremlin a la, "The Manchurian Candidate". This suspension of time and place allows the viewer to take in the chilling effect of totalitarianism, while witnessing the insane behavior of its participants. The film's engrossing aesthetics run the gamut from Fellini to "Brazil" to "1984", all expertly directed by Edwards and edited by Pearlstein.

'Land of The Blind' has the guts to take the viewer on a journey that few filmmakers would dare these days, and having the acting to back it up takes the film straight to the winners circle. Make room George Clooney, thank goodness another talented filmmaker has emerged with courage and vision.

On a side note, I had the good opportunity to see this film in London at the Human Rights Watch Festival, and the sold out crowd went absolutely nuts for the picture. This film should do great as long the distributor realizes what kind of a gem they have.


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57 out of 72 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant. A dark comic thriller and razor-sharp political satire.

Author: Benjamin Leland from Los Angeles, United States
20 March 2006

'Land of the Blind' is a brilliant, darkly comic thriller - a sardonic fable about power politics. It's at once deeply absurd and deadly serious, and I loved every minute of it.

The movie takes place in an unnamed country, an outlandish mix of Haiti, Iran, pre- revolutionary France, and suburban London. It's a get-along or find-yourself-in-a-re- education-camp kind of place.

The film plays as both taut political thriller and broad farce. It's a grim sign of the times that even the most outlandish aspects of this world feel like political deja-vu. Politicians are voted in based on their acting credentials; the President-for-Life is also a self-styled auteur of 'B' action movies; the sycophantic TV news-anchors remain upbeat and bubbly as they bend to the political winds, switching cheerily from Brooks Brothers to burqas.

At the heart of the movie is the relationship between imprisoned playwright Thorne (Donald Sutherland) and the man who guards him - Joe (Ralph Feinnes.) Thorne is a tortured man in possession of a brilliant mind, who's been reduced to writing on the walls of his cell with his own excrement.

Joe works for Junior, the buffoonish but cunning dictator played brilliantly by Tom Hollander. Junior is part infant terrible, part cold-blooded killer. Some will see parallels between him and other political leaders - the wealthy, goofy President trying to live up to the image of his father, the manipulation of a nation's fear of terrorism to hide gross abuses of power, etc.

Joe is cursed with a moral compass. He comes to recognize Junior as evil, but struggles with whether betrayal of the regime is the same as betrayal of his country. At first, Thorne looks like Joe's savior. But the question of whether Thorne is a Vaclav Havel - an intellectual who could save his country, or an Abimael Guzman – the imprisoned Peruvian professor and leader of the Shining Path terrorists, is grimly answered in the movie's closing act.

The cast is remarkable, nothing you wouldn't expect from Fiennes and Sutherland, and Lara Flyn Boyle does a terrifically dark and funny Lady Macbeth as Junior's wife. But Tom Hollander's performance deserves special note. Junior is now my favorite movie villain, ever. Frankly, I'd never heard of Hollander before, but here he turns in such a spectacularly comic and sinister performance that I've now Netflixed all of his other movies. If there's justice in this world (and according to this movie, there's not), Hollander would get an Oscar and a huge career out of this film.

LOTB a highly stylized, gorgeously shot movie – the rich production design and cinematography beg comparison to Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil' and Jeunet & Caro's 'Delicatessen'. Like those films, LOTB also takes place in a surreal dystopia that feels physically warped by abuses of power. Also, like those films, LOTB is darkly cynical and very, very funny.

It's a rare pleasure to see this kind of razor-sharp satire wrapped in a thrilling, artful, and well-crafted piece of story telling.

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22 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Political corruption at its finest with two excellent performances

Author: The_Amazing_Spy_Rises from United States
24 September 2006

With that said, I must say that 'Land of the Blind' is not for those who get lost in movies easily, or find this subject to be offending or uninteresting. There is not a lot of action, nor are there a huge amount of politically stirring speeches. Think of it sort of like V for Vendetta, except the overthrower is Donald Sutherland, and without all the cool lines, big ka-booms and ninja fight scenes.

Joe (Ralph Fiennes) is a soldier in a prison holding famed terrorist/politician Thorne (Donald Sutherland). As Joe performs his duties, he listens to what the prisoner has to say, becoming affected by it. This is a story of how one man can change the outlook of another by simple words and actions.

The acting in 'Land of the Blind' is superb. Ralph Fiennes lives up to his Oscar nominated expectations by giving a layered, moving, and psychologically deep performance. He really gets you thinking as Joe. He makes the character very interesting, likable, and deep. Donald Sutherland is perfectly cast as Thorne, making him just as intriguing as Joe. His performance is thought generating, powerful, and memorable. Tom Hollander gives a chilling and memorable performance as well, similar to his turn in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest'. He is shaping up to be one of the new up and coming British actors.

Robert Edwards' writing and direction are another strong element of the film, though not as strong as the acting. The writing is simply above average, because the film tends to drag at times and seem boring, but Edwards' direction of the actors makes up for it. His sets are interesting and realistic, and the music is somewhat noticeable in a good way.

Land of the Blind is the second best political thriller of the year, behind the wonderful V for Vendetta. I enjoyed it, mainly because of the awesome performances of Ralph Fiennes and Donald Sutherland (both should be in the mix for an Oscar nod). Robert Edwards gives us a memorable film that you'll remember for some time. At 110 minutes, it is neither too long, nor too short.

7/10 --spy

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23 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Land of the Blind is a fearless meditation on the corrupting nature of power

Author: from 24fps UK
19 March 2006

Land of the Blind is a fearless meditation on the corrupting nature of power, and adds to the current, very welcome, crop of thought provoking political films. But it is quite unlike anything else you will see. All to the better. It will demand a response, provoke debate. The narrative goes from farce to horror to poetry in a moment. There is no way the audience can just settle back and let the film roll before them. You are involved.

The story, set in a non-specific time and place, draws on revolutions, emperors and dictators from history. It is not simply of the Left, nor of the Right. It is more complex and questioning than that. Idiots in positions of power make a terrible mess. Idealistic intellectuals take over … and make a terrible mess. We've seen it and continue to see it the world over. The message is see what power can do. It is never year Zero. One must always learn from history. The film makes a rare plea for wisdom.

The cast list is extraordinary. The roster of stars, working for a fraction of their normal fee I believe, appear to seize with gusto the unusual material they have been given and turn in excellent performances. Particularly noteworthy are Tom Hollander and Donald Sutherland as the two sides of the dictating coin and Jonathan Hyde and Robert Daws as the Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee courtiers, funny and frightening by swift turns. Ralph Fiennes gives a career best. And the elephants? What do they mean? Make up your own mind.

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24 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

A quiet sigh about the state of the world

Author: Laert from Munich, Germany
18 July 2006

An unnamed country is ruled by a horny birdbrained tyrant, while the intellectual revolutionary Thorne, hero of the resistance, is tortured in an inhuman prison. When the enduring riots threaten to get out of control, the government is forced to release Thorne. With the help of Joe, the Winston Smith or Bernhard Marx of the story, Thorne brings down the despotic government and takes over control. However, the hope for freedom and a better world doesn't last long...

In the official program of the Film Festival in Munich, LAND OF THE BLIND was announced as "a satiric political drama about terrorism, revolution, and the power of memory". In fact, the film story is rather conventional. After the outlines of the story become clear, the further development is rather obvious. However, for several reasons the movie is still very much worth seeing.

The first reason is the performance by Ralph Fiennes. He was willing to take part in the non-lucrative project even though he had to wait three years until the money was raised. His presence adds a breath of magic to the movie.

Another reason rare the numerous cinematographic and intermedial allusions (Kubrick, Lucas) that give you the satisfactory "aha" when you recognize some hint.

At last, it is the fable-like setting: neither time nor place are specified, and the hints like typewriters or Asiatic palaces are deliberately controversial. Together with the satiric elements, this aspect makes the film more entertaining and less pretentious.

The film is promoted by "Human Rights Watch", although Robert Edwards' intention was certainly not a clamant "call to arms", but rather a quiet sigh about the state of the world.

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22 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Depressingly Interesting

Author: tag8833 from United States
7 September 2006

To put it simply, this film is George Orwell's Animal Farm as told by the makers of Memento. It covers a dark subject, and embraces the darkness associated with it.

This film is set in a fictional country that takes elements from many utilitarian countries around the world to give us things to relate to. To me the most interesting was the Kim Jong-il analogy. A president for life who succeeds his father and is very interested in the film industry. Others will likely see other references.

As the film progresses, we follow this country through stages of governmental upheaval. We ride on the shoulder of an idealistic prison guard as he chooses sides, and faces the consequences of that choice.

As the movie was building, I felt like it was building a Pro-Terrorism Utopian government, but in the end I was left hopeless, because of each plot turn making the movie yet more dour.

Symbolism abounds, and you will find yourself trying to locate the meanings of the symbols, which are perhaps a tad too convoluted for my tastes.

I was completely immersed in the story, and I found the progression of the movie to be very compelling, but the overall message of hopelessness clashed with my youthful idealism.

I recommend this movie as debate fodder for political theorists. Its dark themes limit its audience otherwise.

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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Captivating yet Disturbing View of Power

Author: dballred from Oklahoma City
28 December 2006

I have always had a certain fascination for stories which indict the abuse of power in the name of the state. After I saw this film the first time, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It had all the disturbing characteristics of an Orwellian novel, but it was not as relentlessly depressing. I believe the screenwriter was holding out the hope that the people will "get" the story.

In this film, a mythical country is beset by an endless array of despots. These despots show character traits mankind has witnessed in real life, such as Pol Pot, Mussolini, Louis XVI/Marie Antoinette, Peron, Ayatollah Khoumeni, and Kim Jong Il. In this "land of the blind," the people are more interested in popular culture than the suffering of mankind at the hands of the despots. As a result, they elect movie stars to represent them in what becomes clear as a sham system.

Those people who are politically motivated and want to see a parallel between the nasty people who are leading the poor nation in the story to ruin and the current world leaders are, in my opinion, completely missing the point. In the first place, the title of this film should provide a clue. In a "land of the blind," just about anybody could arise to a position of power because the "blind" are too easily led.

In this film, there is a heavy reliance on imagery and metaphor. The main repetitive image is that of an elephant. In the movie, the parable of the blind men and the elephant is brought out and that, in my opinion, is what this film is all about. New governments can provide their side of the story--the elephant--to the blind public by steering them to the desired part of the anatomy.

Donald Sutherland, playing a character aptly named Thorn, is one of the best casting choices ever made. You'll need to see this film to understand what I'm talking about. I gave this a nine rating out of ten.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Can you spot all the totalitarian regimes?

Author: Ryu_Darkwood from Netherlands
17 September 2007

This is a grim tale about how totalitarian regimes try to ban the free spirit out of the minds of their citizens. Performances by Ralph Fiennes, as the warden sympathetic to the cause, and Donald Sutherland, as the imprisoned rebel leader, are both splendid. I liked the satirical approach to the subject. Despite its harsh and eerie subject - the cycle of violence concerning revolutions and contra-revolutions - it is also very funny movie on a darker level. It's an absolute blast to spot the existing dictatorial regimes they mixed up to create the most horrible regime imaginable.

Another great movie getting a mediocre score. It's a shame. Though I do understand that this is not the material for your average escapism of everyday life. This grim and violent tale is perhaps only interesting for those with an interest in modern history.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A noble effort

Author: mrharper77 from Northern California
15 October 2006

When I read the cast list for this film i thought "hey with these people it should be great!" well... it's not great, but it does do a good job at exposing the hypocrisy of power, and who is better suited to govern, a single person/regime or that amorphous element named "The People".

Donald Sutherland and Rafe(don't call me Ralph!) Fiennes, give wonderful acting performances, and there are many great supporting roles too. Including the lovely Lara Flynn Boyle, (watch for the scene with her in a skin tight latex dress playing kinky sex games with her husband!,it made the rental price, for me anyway, worth paying ! Woo Hoo!).

There is a lot of interesting and intelligent dialog through out the film too , the director/writer is obviously a literate man.

My problem, is that this film tries to hard to be too many things at once.

BTW, the poem that Sutherland's and Fiennes' characters quote is by William Butler Yeats and it's named "The Second Coming", and the haunting piano music you hear, you might remember is also used in "Barry Lyndon" and I believe is written by Mozart

It's definitely worth a rental though.

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Stylish and artistic

Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
9 September 2006

This film is about a prison guard siding with a political prisoner in a fictional country. The prison guard helps overthrow the government, only to find out that the new president is a worse dictator.

The story was a bit slow to start with, but it becomes mesmerising soon. The political tones in the film cannot be underestimated. The filmmakers are careful not to criticise any kinds of regime, in order to avoid a political war.

The two leading actors, Ralph Fiennes and Donald Sutherland both give strong performances in the film. They make the film very enjoyable to watch.

In addition, the stylish editing and cinematography makes the film very artistic.

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