Thankful for World Cinema: Blind Spot (2012)
For an introduction to the concept of Thankful for World Cinema please go here.
One thing I was reticent of many years ago was using the word “Noir,” or even the more modernist phrase Neo-Noir, in describing a film. My issue was that I was in many ways a purist and believed that to be truly a Noir film it had to be in black-and-white. However, as more time has gone by, and there have been fewer films in my experience that have been able to lay claim to any such adjective; I have a bit more ease with it now. It’s true enough that these phrases deal with presentation, plot construction and building, therefore, the phrase Neo-Noir is far more palatable to me these days than it was.
I say all that by way of introduction to the film Blind Spot. For truly, in the manner its plot is constructed and presented is a kin of Film Noir. Events start to unfold when a cop, the brother of our lead who is also a cop, Oliver Faber (Jules Werner); is murdered. As the investigation progresses and more is learned about the case a complex web is discovered, a manipulative game is played and it is apparent and highly possible that no one is what they seem.
The film really dives in with an in medias res beginning of a fight between two cops. What that fight concerns also builds character and becomes intermingled in the web of mind-play, but it really sets the tone perfectly and sets up a template for the edit which will spin us through this involved storyline quickly, yet also keeps the audience highly engaged.
What also is established early is another Noir staple of the officer (or investigator) who not only has his own demons, but is a bit unorthodox and is going to get very close to quite a few uncomfortable truths.
In this tale, setting also becomes involved in the story as it is a facet of the investigation. Seeing as how a murder investigation, with a complicated forensic profile that has occurred in Luxembourg amidst an undermanned and somewhat inexperienced squad they must await an experts arrival from Germany. There are other examples of current socioeconomic and political realities in Europe making themselves present in this tale, as well as ones specific to Luxembourg proper.
The dangers in many a Noir tale will inevitably be that it will be overly plot-heavy with not enough focus on characters. However, one of the best tricks this film pulls is that it manages to build them as well such that we get a sense for who these people are and in discovering them and their motivations we see that things do connect. It’s a delicate and deftly pulled off balancing act.
Blind Spot is hypnotically watchable and incessantly drives towards its unpredictable and thrilling conclusion. It’s a stylish, character-driven Neo Noir that is brilliantly edited and assuredly directed.