A satirical and timely war thriller about terrorism, revolution, and the power of memory. In an unnamed place and time, an idealistic soldier named Joe (Ralph Fiennes) strikes up an illicit friendship with a political pris... more »oner named Thorne (Donald Sutherland), who eventually recruits him into a bloody coup d'etat. But in the post-revolutionary world, what Thorne asks of Joe leads the two men into bitter conflict, spiraling downward into madness until Joe's co-conspirators conclude that they must erase him from history.« less
A somewhat predictible, but good movie. Some graphic sections that were maybe a little over done.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Robert L. (LOKI) from DAVIS, WV Reviewed on 9/11/2009...
oh what a truly twisted tale. goverment take overs, overtaking others. only to be taken once again. I had to watch it twice just to keep up with the story line. or make that lines ... some above par mind bending thought provoking action within this tale of dirty laundry for Goverments. 2.5 of 5. worth a watch and pass along. Rob
Room 101 Revisited
Aaron Gutsell | Clementon, NJ | 08/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After expecting "The English Patient, Part VI" We were pleasantly surprised to see Ralph Fiennes head off into uncharted waters. A dark blend of "Nineteen Eighty-Four" and "Brazil" emerges in a fully-formed recreation of the Stalinist revolutionary state, with subreferences to practically every dictator who graced the Twentieth Century.
Donald Sutherland has a chance to shine in a fabulous Castro-esque (the early years) beard, and We were also highly impressed with Lara Flynn Boyle, and Tom Hollander as the son-turned-heir, an unfortunate dictatorial truth still being played out in North Korea. Mr. Hollander was suitably portrayed as a short man next to the leggy Boyle, and the 1950s Peronist costumes set an appropriate tone.
Draw whatever conclusions you will from the film's final scenes- they are the results of torture and re-education camps- but many Russian, Cuban, Argentinian, North Korean, Chinese, Afghani, Italian, Cambodian, George Orwellian dissidents would agree that "Land of the Blind" is a superbly accurate and ironic piece of work."
Nothing is Better than Steak
L. Jerome | Silver Spring, Maryland USA | 09/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great movie about a naive soldier, brilliantly played by Ralph Fiennes, who helps to overturn one dictatorship, only to have it replaced by another. A timely film about government oppression, restricted freedom and unfailing courage. I'm surprised that I haven't heard of this film before."
Quite brilliant but ham handed
Seth J. Frantzman | Jerusalem, Israel | 10/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an almost brilliant film, close in greatness to Brazil but misses the makr because of its ham handed idiotic references to current 'terrorist' lingo, which makes it not a timely classic, so it fails becuase it will not play well in ten years, the verbage used in the film will be lost. However there is brilliance here. A mosaic of time periods and dictators, this film references many things, Franco, monks burning themselves, political prisoners, the war on terror, bin Laden, France's war in algeria, Nixon, and even a little known or recalled story of a vietnam POW who blinked morse code on TV. In addition it even references Pol Pot and Kim Jung Il.
This political satire and dark comedy is fascinating in its ability to portray dictatorship, but its use of American uniforms, those used in the war in Iraq, on soldiers shooting civilians is gratuitousa and degrading. Making fun of Pol Pot is one thing, comparing genocide to current U.S policy is sad and too easily.
Set in a fictional country it stars Ralph Fiennes and Donald Sutherland, who deliver great performances. It sourounds a child dictator-director, his tarror card reading wife(ala Noriega) a prison guard turned collaborator with a celebrated terrorist-philosopher.
A must see film, brilliant but has some real tragic drawbacks.
Seth J. Frantzman"
From rags to a hero and back
Michael Kerjman | 09/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Unlike "Kiss of the spider woman" [...] this movie provides inside into the makers of history, where deception, personal gist for power and by-date imminent interest rule.
Due to an accustomed trend of contemporary show- bestsellers, creators deploy sexual fantasies game and dominantress to memorize a dramatic eclipse of a story where a way from rags to a hero and back lasted about a quarter of century, blood, tortures and murders follow.
Nice performance, beautiful cast and intrigue depicted simplistically, and a "naïve soldier" Joe does not look like a young recruit at all.
This dramatic story is of a very gloomy vogue final."
The Infinite Sadness of the Truly Free
A. Dent | Minas Anor, GD | 02/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What is freedom? What is happiness and where do we find ourselves if we're pursuing them too enthusiastically? Pol Pot's Cambodia, Lenin's Russia, Khomeini's Iran, Castro's Cuba, Kim's North Korea, Hitler's Germany, Robespierre's France, Ceausescu's Romania... early 3d Millennium America? And then, there's 'the day(s) after'. What do we do after we defeat and punish our tormentors, once the victory is ours and our power seems to be absolute. We find more enemies, what else. And we work hard at it. And we keep going until it's our turn to the guillotine or to the labor camps.
This is not an easy to watch movie because it's not an us vs. them pattern (us good, them bad) but rather 'us' and 'them' taking turns to be the baddies, an exercise in self-destruction and perpetual humiliation. Just to make sure that we get the message, it all starts with 'them' in power, then one of 'them' replaces another, then 'us' manage to overthrow 'them', then 'us' turn against ourselves and become worse then 'them', then 'they' come back.
On that background, that who was the tool of the oppressor (Hollander) turns into a tool of the liberator (Sutherland) who, in turn, becomes oppressor but he (Fiennes) will never be a tool again as he accepts his fate of the forever prisoner. There's nothing original about this. Thoreau noted that "under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison ... the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor." And Fiennes, playing 'Joe the good soldier' keeps his honor intact and keeps himself in jail.
Like I said, this is not an easy movie to watch. Black and white, shocking archive scenes - Edison electrocuting an elephant - are blended with with images of torture or kitsch luxury and grotesque orgies. We, who never came close to a Pol Pot-induced nightmare are likely to look the other way when unwashed prisoners, using their own feces to write slogans on their jail's walls, pop up on the screen. Like those legendary frogs, we still feel comfortable while the gradually warmer water is slowly cooking us into a delicious, nutritious, totalitarian soup. It can never happen here we think as we try to make ourselves watch for a while longer. Only that it can because this IS our human nature, to do whatever it takes to dominate and humiliate our fellow humans, to show them who is in charge and to make them accept us as the ones in charge. And we never seem to learn.
I don't know if I'm going to watch this movie again soon but I am glad that I did watch it once. Watching it is not entertainment and it can be painful but it can be good medicine too, providing some temporary relief to some diseases that come with our human nature. 'Memento mori' - remember that you will die - the victorious Roman warriors were reminded at the moment of their triumph. That, and, remember that you are probably played like a pawn in some more or less subtle domination game.
Robert Edwards, writer and director, Sutherland, Fiennes, everyone who was part of this project deserves praise, respect and appreciation for their courage, their understanding and their hard work. I don't believe anyone got rich out of this effort but everyone should feel good about themselves for doing what had to be done and making a statement that had to be made."