Land of the Blind

Film
SOLDIER OF MISFORTUNE Fiennes salutes his superiors.
SOLDIER OF MISFORTUNE Fiennes salutes his superiors.

Time Out says

Unlike literature, movies have a spotty record when it comes to brave new dystopias, with filmmakers tending to treat imperfect futures as Pop Art canvases. Robert Edwards’s satire, set ten minutes into tomorrow, is another stylistic mash-up; French rococo and Maoist motifs are grafted onto Brazil’s broken-Britannia set design, with dollops of Russian futurism dressing added for extra flavor. Welcome tototalitarian-ism as bleak chic for the graphic-design crowd.

In a faraway land, dim-witted dictator Maximilian Jr. (Hollander)—the love child of Kim Jong Il and Dubya—rules with an iron fist. A guard named Joe (Fiennes), member of His Majesty’s gestapo, keeps watch over an incarcerated playwright (Sutherland). After his humanity is reawakened, Joe helps instigate a coup, the political prisoner sets up his own puppet regime, and...do you remember that old maxim about absolute power?

Taking aim at the government, the media and cultural revolutionaries, Land of the Blind’s strokes and swipes are a little too broad. But when its arrows do hit their marks they draw blood. And though Edwards lets his aesthetic vision dominate the story, you can’t fault his eye. The sight of a bitter, battered Fiennes cowering against Kubrickian whiteness is as arresting a cinematic image as you’re likely to encounter. (Opens Fri.)—David Fear

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