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Mental Illness: Major Films   no photo.
TitleBlind Obsession (2001)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityBlind Mental
CountryUSA
Length120
GenreThriller
Rating1
DirectorRobert Malenfant
CastBrad Johnson II Megan Gallagher Roxana Zal Leslie Hardy
NotesReview contributed by Yvonne Synopsis Jack Fletcher (Johnson) ,a cop, is blinded in a shoot-out by damage to his optic nerve. He is at first bitter and rude to his orientation and mobility trainer Rebecca Rose but soon starts to co-operate with her. Rebecca home life revolves around caring for her child-like sister Bodelia, who was traumatised by their "Uncle Ernie" (no doubt named after the character in Tommy by The Who) who, it is implied, sexually abused her. Finding that Jack has discharged himself from hospital Rebecca turns up at his home to carry on his mobility lessons where she meets his ex girlfriend Amy. Rebecca brings Jack a long white cane and asks him to map out his house by counting steps. Whilst he is doing this she pockets his door key and later has it copied. Subsequently, she secretly returns to his house and without his awareness, watches him. One of the criminals from the shoot-out comes into the house at this moment and is about to kill Jack when Rebecca stabs him to death with a kitchen knife. Without a word, she drags the body out of the house and Jack has little idea what has been going on. His police partner puts the experience down to the side effects of medicine. Rebecca is increasingly obsessed with Jack, stealing photos and planning a future with him and her sister is increasingly jealous and worried that she will lose her sisters care. Their relationship becomes increasingly strained and Bodelia becomes increasingly deranged. Whilst Rebecca is secretly watching Jack, Amy drops in with some shopping and spots Rebecca leaving. Amy is suspicious of Rebecca and finds out from her Agency that her daily visits are inappropriate; following Rebecca home, she confronts her. A struggle ensues and Amy falls down the stairs to her death. With Amy gone Rebecca is able to spend more time with Jack. Bodelia gets more desperate and cuts her wrists. She realises that Rebecca's hesitancy in bringing aid means that she wants her dead and starts plotting Jack's demise. At this time Jack starts to have momentary returns of vision. Bodelia turns up at Jack's place threatening him with a gun. Rebecca is there and disarms her and takes her home. The body of the dead criminal is found by hikers and the police now re-evaluate Jacks story. Bodelia knocks Rebecca out and ties her up. Jack, failing to get hold of Rebecca or his police partner, leaves a message for him and then takes a cab over to the sisters' house. Here he is confronted with a gun wielding deranged Bodelia who tries to shoot him and then hunts him in the grounds of the house. Handily, Jacks vision is returning and he hides in an outbuilding, where it becomes clear that the sisters have buried the evil Uncle Ernie who they had killed. The final shoot out occurs with Rebecca (who has managed to escape her bonds) and Bodelia struggling for control of the gun and Rebecca is shot. Jack' s partner is there too having got the phone message and he shoots Bodelia dead. Rebecca dies in Jack's arms. Comments Oh dear. Where to start. I actually thought the film was Ok for the first few minutes, the initial shoot out and the initial bitterness and anger of the newly blinded man was reasonable. However as the plot went on there were so many stupid things happening that I lost all ability to suspend disbelief. As the plot, portrayal of the blindness and the mental illness of the sister became more and more ludicrous, unrealistic and inaccurate, I got angry. It also annoys me when disability related films so often end up with the person recovering just in time to handle the emergency, the implication again that they are helpless with the disability and are only empowered by restoration of the lost function. Nearly every scene was set either in Jack's house or the sisters' house, so nearly every scene was announced with a picture of the outside of the appropriate house like the viewer wouldn't be able to work it out. Disability issues It always worries me when a blind character is easily duped, for instance when Rebecca is hiding in his room. I think it is exploitative of the disability (which was intentional here) but also insulting to the abilities of blind people. Sounds of breathing, movement etc. and scent plus a sense of presence would let someone know that a person is present. The blindness then seems to lead not only to a lack of vision but also a complete loss of intellect and rationale. The worst abuse of accuracy was the two handed clumsy use of the long white cane. I managed to allow this initially, putting it down, to the newly blinded Jack's lack of skill. However, when he was out on mobility lessons with the teacher, he was still doing this. He also used the cane all the time in his home which is not necessary or realistic. Even the tiniest amount of research, like watching a blind person use a cane would have shown this error. Also the character learned passable Braille within a few weeks, which is misleading. Braille is a difficult skill to master especially for those blinded in adulthood and can take years to acquire competence. I also felt offended by the portrayal of the mental illness of the sister,. I think there is enough rubbish out there already about mental illness without furthering the idea that sexual abuse leads to a gun-wielding maniac

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