Blind Spot

Blind Spot ★★★★

Makes surprisingly good use of the one-shot gimmick by de-emphasizing the formal aspects of its visual construction. It took me a while to embrace this gambit, but it really feels like the film earns the right not to edit. The usual counterarguments against the idea of the extended shot being tense and immersive are that the same effects can be achieved by editing, and without having to worry about all the choreography and without limiting the kind of visual storytelling you can do. I mostly agree with this, hence the initial skepticism, but what I found compelling about this instance is that (after the slow opening 10-15 minutes) I was constantly desperate for a cut, any cut, just to get a release, just a snap-second break from the trauma, but you never get that here. You have to live every micro-second of this extremely horrible event just like the characters have to. This likely wouldn't have worked without the film's loose approach to camera movement, composition and blocking. So often, filmmakers feel the need to show off their ability for complex choreography with both actors and camera. Debut filmmaker Novotny, who's previously had a significant career as an actor, ignores any such instinct (perhaps her background means she has less of them anyway) and instead just lets everything play out fairly simply. Occasionally the camera will switch sides and there are certain very obvious "walking from one area to another with camera in tow" moments, but all in all it's a very actor-centric, medium distance, loose camera approach and as a result feels more immersive than the two usual modes of extended takes which tend to be shaky, up-close handheld or very rigid and floaty steadicam.

I liked this a lot. Not every aspect of the performances work (it's really hard to do this kind of trauma and panic consistently well) and some lines of dialogue are a bit rough, but the story told and the simple (with the very obvious exception) approach with which it's told are both really compelling. From the moment things go south until the uncertain ending, it's an unusually tense experience. The specifics of the story are of course also very important and is a good reminder of how invisible mental health issues can be.

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