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Review: 'Blind Revenge' loses its way

The English-language thriller from the late Raoul Ruiz is more melodrama than mystery.

July 12, 2012|By Robert Abele
  • "Blind Revenge."
"Blind Revenge." (Cinema Epoch )

Before his death last August, Raoul Ruiz's "The Mysteries of Lisbon" earned just praise as a late masterpiece of epic, sumptuous formalism from the prolific Chilean filmmaker. His English-language thriller, "Blind Revenge," completed a few years ago, won't necessarily harm the eccentric director's reputation and, in fact, its pockets of weirdness and the familiar Ruiz theme of the inconvenience of the past might draw the curious. Others will likely shrug.

Slapped with a new, more exploitative title after originally released in the U.K. as "A Closed Book," writer Gilbert Adair's "The Servant"-meets-"Sleuth" scenario has newly blind, grumpily witted British critic Sir Paul (Tom Conti, sporting black shades) hiring an American amanuensis (Darryl Hannah) to move into his sprawling, musty estate and type out his memoirs, only to gradually realize she's quietly altering the familiarity of his shut-in existence. (That chair wasn't there before!)

Though Conti's stream of arrogant patter is amusing, Hannah is mostly stiff as someone with a secretly cruel hand to play. Ruiz seems more interested, anyway, in the faded elegance of Paul's Gothic surroundings than the melodrama at hand, which dilutes the story's more sinister edges.

Even bit turns from Miriam Margolyes and Elaine Paige aren't enough to make "Blind Revenge" much more than a stagey misfire.


"Blind Revenge." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes. At Laemmle's Noho 7, North Hollywood.

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