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MOVIES (GFF 2022): The Blind Man Who Did Not Want To See Titanic - Review

The Blind Man Who Did Not See Titanic is a genius film in part because of how it operates – casting an actually blind actor as its blind character shouldn’t be revolutionary, but in this context, it feels so - it’s a dark thriller that moves along at a great speed, plunging us into the eyes of Petri Poikolainen’s Jaakko, who has never met Sirpa face to face, but talks on the telephone with her every day. When he hears about Sirpa’s declining health Jaakko sets off to visit her in another city, encountering five strangers on the way whose help he needs to rely on to make it to her – alone.

It's a thriller that keeps the camera close to Jaakko so the audience gets an insight as to what life must be like from his perspective, we never see, only hear the world around him, there are no establishing shots and no landscape shots – Jaakko is on screen for every second of the film, and Poikolainen’s performance is a crowning achievement because of that. The little touches that Jaakko has to his character only work in the film’s favour – his obsession with John Carpenter movies is a sticking point, and he constantly compares everyone who he comes into contact with to characters in a movie – to the point when two thieves approach him he compares them to characters in Fargo. These character decisions make Jaakko feel more alive with the film giving him agency that propels the plot forward, almost moving like an intense thriller – never once slowing down.

The Blind Man Who Did Not See Titanic could have fallen into the trap of the safe inspirational cliches that most Hollywood films tend to popularise but instead does not shy away from accusing able-bodied people who have shut out disabled people from society demonstrating how they could do so much better. Much of the film’s emphasis on sound and feels more authentic than modern Oscar winners that have experimented with this approach, comparable to the likes of Sound of Metal in how important good sound design is to making this film work – Sami Kiiski, Heikki Kossi and Roope Mantere’s involvement in the sound department really give this film the extra helping of authenticity that it needs. But the film ultimately lives or dies on Petri Poikolaninen’s performance and he’s excellent here, a real perfect example as to why he should be starring in more roles than he currently is – and it’s a breakout favourite of the Glasgow Film Festival so far for me, certainly a breakout performance, able to make the audience experience every emotion that its central character experiences from the first frame to the last – a resounding accomplishment that should not be ignored.

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