Julianne Moore in <i>Blindness</i>

Julianne Moore in Blindness

Rated 3.0

A Kafkaesque dystopian fantasy adapted from a Nobel laureate’s novel would seem to speak to our precipitous times with a special trenchancy. Unfortunately, Fernando Meirelles’ artsy-experimental version of Jose Saramago’s novel pulls up lame in nearly all of its most urgent aspects. An impressive-sounding cast (Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Danny Glover, Gael García Bernal, Alice Braga, etc.) has very little to do apart from staying focused while Meirelles and company trot out details of plot and setting in a free-floating allegory (and sketchy end-of-the-world story) set off in an unnamed city where an inexplicable epidemic of blindness has broken out. Fleeting echoes of Lord of the Flies and Camus’ The Plague come into play, but with little in the way of dramatic consequence and far too little in terms of the brandished issues. Meirelles’ technical inventiveness, with imagery of blindness and an expressive use of surround sound, are very small consolation, under the circumstances. Rated R