5.5/10
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9 user 23 critic

Blind Revenge (2009)

A Closed Book (original title)
Not Rated | | Thriller | 13 July 2012 (USA)
Sir Paul, a distinguished author, blinded in a horrific accident, advertises for an amanuensis, an assistant to help him with his writing. He employs the amiable Jane Ryder to be his eyes ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
... Sir Paul
... Jane Ryder
... Mrs. Kilbride
Elaine Paige ... Canvasser
... Andrew Boles
Matthew Alexander Kaufman ... Interviewee 1 (as Matthew Kaufman)
... Interviewee 2
Matthew Earley ... Interviewee 3
Brogan West ... Interviewee 4
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Storyline

Sir Paul, a distinguished author, blinded in a horrific accident, advertises for an amanuensis, an assistant to help him with his writing. He employs the amiable Jane Ryder to be his eyes as he revisits scenes from his past and works on what he intends to be his final opus. Jane appears to be ideal: attractive, intelligent, unruffled by her employer's abrupt eccentricities. But, gradually, we come aware that Jane has another agenda. Incrementally, Sir Paul's familiar surroundings are altered. Strange things happen around the house and he becomes increasingly dependent on his new assistant. Jane plays increasingly sadistic games until their relationship breaks down... Written by Anonymous

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Looking back on your past could cost you your future See more »

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13 July 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blind Revenge  »

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1.85 : 1
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Quickie satisfies

It is very strange to my mind that such a celebrated director as Raoul Ruiz is making straight-to-video movies in the UK! However the English-language world has a goldfish memory for foreign giants and so perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised. Maybe he needs to get Spike Jonze or Quentin Tarantino to "sponsor" him ^^. Nucingen House didn't even get a DVD release, so we shouldn't look a gift horse in the eye with this one.

So we have an art critic living in a country pile who has gone blind following some nasty maiming. He wishes to publish a final book and thus sets about hiring an "amanuensis" to assist him with this. Tom Conti plays the role of blind critic Paul pretty well, he has just the right mix of pomposity and fragility. The film is quite surreal, but nowhere more so perhaps than when we see a selection of self-absorbed characters interviewed for the position of amanuensis. In this country we never really hailed the arrival of the Surrealist movement, which is perhaps strange as we are about as surreal as it gets. So surreal that we understandably have problems rising out of the fog and making well-realised films about ourselves, although Patrick Keiller's London and Peter Greenaway's The Falls are notable successes. Yes the UK is a nightmare of prejudice, public conformity, self-repression, snobbishness, and reverse snobbishness; all the more bizarre as it's totally unenforced. British lives collectively are a myriad of uncorrelated banalities. We live in post-colonial anomie. Another example in the film is the political canvasser who is timid and petrified at the idea of engaging with someone on a non-superficial level, even if that were to be a well-to-do blind man, and even if that were, ostensibly, her mission. Our politics are quite funny, although we have again an ostensibly socialist party in government, it's just come to light that, in effect, Tesco are able to pay to get proposed legislation torpedoed!

The amanuensis (Jane) is eventually selected and is played by Darryl Hannah. She's fairly clearly hostile to him from the start, but is gentle enough in resting demeanour that it's clear we're seeing a vendetta from an aggrieved party, rather than the acts of a psychotic. There's a lovely example of female passive aggressive behaviour here, which, as someone who is as pompous as they come, though with a strong twist of self-deprecation that most don't ever seem to get, I have experienced myself. Jane sits listening to the usual enthusiastic and self-indulgent discourse, carefully choosing her moment to burst his bubble, when Paul mentions that it was always a bad thing to do for writers to drink, she coldly brings up Bukowski and Hemingway.

There is camera-work here, though the movie is obviously a quickie. The best example would be when the camera floats dreamily as we are told of Princess Diana's appearance in Bhutan. The opening shot of the spires of the pile are suitably surreal, however the atmosphere of the very comfortable gentrified interior is in contrast to that making the opener look slightly contrived. Being a quickie we also have a generic soundtrack over the top, which must have taken all of half an hour to select and edit in during post-production. I doubt anything was shot twice in the movie either, hence the zoom shots when Paul takes his glasses off, which are a bit silly.

For people who care about such things, the twist at the end regarding the critic himself, was pretty obvious in the first act if you are used to looking at paintings with anything other than a blank stare, or have knowledge about the meaning behind the travel itineraries of British men.

Though this is a quick production, done with a minimum of fuss and cost, there's enough artistic value to make this worth a watch. You even get to hear a good recital of the poem Jenny by James Henry Leigh Hunt.


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