Blind Review – Genuine; One of The Year’s Best

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Blind, from Vertical Entertainment, brings to the screen a sharp, well told, dynamic, love story with enough credibility that it could be pulled from Manhattan's society pages as a torrid love triangle explodes leaving New Yorkers glued to Page Six.

Directed by Michael Mailer, Blind stars Demi Moore, Alec Baldwin, Dylan McDermott, Viva Bianca, Stephen Prescod, Dorothy Lyman, James McCaffrey, Reene Willett, Eden Epstein, Jabari Gray, Sasha Lazard, Karen Goeller and was story by Diane Fisher and written John Buffalo Mailer.

Blind opens with at the penthouse of Mark and Suzanne Dutchman, played by Dylan McDermott and Demi Moore, on their 19th Wedding Anniversary, the two are running late for dinner, the city, sprawls out beneath them, truly The Dutchman's have conquered the beast and are at the top of their game.

To celebrate this night Mark a financier, and deal maker, and smart enough not to forget even after nineteen years, surprises Suzanne with a stunning, dazzling diamond necklace.  The two are a handsome power couple, she devoted to enhancing the image through the many charities and social events and he, the power broker known for his insight, cunning and ability to turn a mild investment into the next hottest stock and with it reap seven and eight figure bonuses.

After dinner one drink at the Boom Boom Room, a Manhattan member's only club where the rich meet the influential and the climbers hope for one second to catch their eye. Tonight, Suzanne and Mark each meet up with their set of "friends."

Mark and Howard, played by James McCaffrey, an aristocrat, who loves women, good scotch, on the rocks, and the power drug of Wall Street. Tonight, the two are talking about investments, portfolios and the need to ditch and reinvestment using the family account.

Suzanne is being courted to join the Conservancy Board, and while it is an honor, her social calendar as she explains is overbooked. However, she explains her friend, Deanna, played by Viva Bianca would be her choice. Her suggestion may have well been written in stone as her husband's wealth, position and power make her word gold and provides a nice plug in the following day's society pages.

A leggy blonde catches Howard's eye and with his wealth, as the door never opens at the Boom Boom room for less, and after Mark explains the upcoming deal, Howard is off to a private room with the flavor of the evening.

With no less than eight federal regulators watching every Wall Street deal at any time, the whiff of insider trading or any unusual money movement will bring the watchdogs sniffing around every transaction with the speed of the electronic transmission.

Today, a stunned Howard ended up the bait for a larger sting, and within 24 hours of the Boom Boom Room, Mark is behind bars and Suzanne is now facing the possibility of prison time over the use of the family account.

A remarkably sympathetic judge, played by Dorothy Lyman, who believed Suzanne had no knowledge of her husband's financial business dealings sentenced her to 100 hours of Community Service.

This sets off Act two of Blind and where we meet Bill Oakland, a pugnacious, blind, bestselling novelist, played by Alec Baldwin. As an Professor, he has volunteers read his students papers to him. His unusually argumentative, highbrow, intellectualism makes the Blind Institute special case as he often has volunteers fleeing the room in tears.

We meet one of his readers, Gavin O'Conner, played by Stephen Prescod, who is essentially a fan and reacts to the brusque, biting sarcasm, and leaves which is when Suzanne is assigned, without choice, to the argumentative and the one title author whose former bestseller has him believing his own hype and now as the most successful blind author his alleged intellectual superiority, produces a self-grandiose arrogance.

I thoroughly enjoyed Blind. Everything about the film, from the choices in opening credits, casting the acting is excellent, the script and story are well written, with authentic dialogue and situations, is real and credible.

Speaking of casting and the impressive talent, one would not have to venture far into the annals of excellent, lauded and awarded, performances to find the names of each of the leads.

Granted one might say, the how difficult would it be to portray a socialite? Getting it right? Extremely difficult, as a poor performance would be picked apart by ladies who lunch on both coasts. Ms. Moore nailed her role as Suzanne Dutchman, even to the point of stoic choices in hair and makeup. Her beauty is flawless and even has she has lived the better part of the quarter of a century in the public eye, with her share of personal battles, she became the wife with no identity outside her home and charities.

I was equally impressed, with Dylan McDermott, whom we don't see often in these high wire, Icarus, performances, where he is so close to exploding, and bad boy behavior is tolerated, at the office, as he is King of the Jungle and the fees brought in at the top sedate his partners and provide assurance of golden parachutes even when the federals authorities believe they have him.

Without giving too much of the film away, I believe Alec Baldwin will be mentioned as awards season comes around for his portrayal of Bill Oakland. The fact that he feels cheated over the loss of his sight, and damned by God over a senseless tragedy is abundantly clear and his attitude, his intellectual elitist tirades are only the sheath that masks his fragile emotions.

Physically challenging roles are rarely tackled with legitimacy, validity and truth and Mr. Baldwin portrays this role remarkably.

Diversity champions will blast the casting of Baldwin and as the Academy has only awarded one female Best Director, (Kathryn Bigalow for The Hurt Locker, 2008) it seems hard pressed to imagine every disabled role, being filled by those who are genuinely experience and live with the disability.

There are a handful of films that rise to the top that portray disabilities accurately The Miracle Worker (1963) in which both Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft won Academy Awards, A Patch of Blue (1965) with Elizabeth Hartman and Sidney Poitier, Forest Gump (1994), in which Gary Sinise as Lieutenant Dan Taylor, portrays a paraplegic with precision and was nominated for his performance and Jamie Foxx as Ray (2004) who also won an Academy Award for his performance.

To Mr. Baldwin's credit he didn't soft soap the role or "play act." His performance was memorable and genuine.

Blind portrays with clarity the tightrope that each of the characters walk as they navigate their lives.

Blind opens July 14, 2017. It is clearly one of the best films of the year! A genuine treat. See this film! Check your local listings.

Image courtesy of Vertical Entertainment.

 

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