- Aron von Andrian, Amela Eve
- Andrew Hyatt
- Biography, Drama
- Release date
- September 9, 2023
Born on the bayou in 1946, Phil Robertson went from living in a house without a toilet to founding a company worth millions, but more importantly, Phil Robertson went from a man lost to sin to a child of God. The Blind is the story of that redemption.
Based on the real-life events of Phil and Marsha (Miss Kay) Robertson, The Blind delves deep into their lives, starting with their childhood and concluding with Phil’s descent into darkness and life-saving salvation.
Redemption stories are the ultimate underdog tale, and that is one of The Blind’s strongest assets. However, it’s certainly not its only one. It’s a beautifully shot film and cinematographer Chris Stacey should be applauded for his efforts. He provides some exquisitely framed moments and does an excellent job of visual storytelling without getting in the narrative’s way by over-stylizing, which is a particular triumph when one considers his limited experience (The Blind is his 3rd feature-length film).
Offering audiences the film’s standout performance, Amela Eva gives a fantastic turn as the adult Miss Kay. Eva remains present and fully invested in her character throughout, delivering both well-scripted and the occasional but noteworthy clunky line with grace and sincerity.
Not far behind Amela, is Aron von Andrian who plays adult Phil. von Andrian, an English native, has numerous excellent moments throughout The Blind. At his strongest during Phil’s spiral into debauchery, which is the bulk of the film, there is never a moment in which von Andrian does not appear fully invested in Robertson.
von Andrian’s commitment and obvious skill make it all the more frustrating when he has to deliver some of the film’s clunkiest and most artificial-sounding dialogue. There aren’t many instances of it, but when it occurs, Laurence Olivier‘s prodigious talent wouldn’t have been sufficient to rescue it. Furthermore, von Andrian isn’t aided by some horrendously fake-looking beards and beard dye jobs or his native accent.
There are definitely a smattering of Walking Dead “Coral” moments.
As engrossing as most of the film can be, there are a regrettable number of scenes in which the viewers are ripped away from their investment in the film’s reality to return to the duck blind in which von Andrian’s Robertson is telling his life’s story to an old friend. These and the copious voiceover narration are the film’s least impressive aspects. Not only do the interjections serve to arrest the movie’s momentum but they eat up time that would have been better spent showing us more of Phil’s journey and robs us of the full emotional impact of his miraculous transformation.
Furthermore, much like the moral of the story, that salvation isn’t complex but necessary, Robertson’s story isn’t complex and doesn’t require a narrator’s help for the audience to grasp the significance of its beats. It’s unfortunate that director Andrew Hyatt doesn’t seem to trust himself enough to show instead of say because when he’s on, he’s on. With these infrequent interruptions notwithstanding, Hyatt keeps things moving along at a crisp pace and tells a touching and heartfelt story.
Even though The Blind isn’t perfect, its story of redemption and perseverance in the face of personal demons and human frailty is one worth watching, and much like another surprisingly engaging and overtly Christian movie from earlier this year, Jesus Revolution, The Blind is a massive step forward in the quality of these types of films. We are happy to declare that The Blind is Worth it.
The Blind Role Models
While the film provides a number of examples of people in Phil and Kay Robertson’s lives who are worthy of emulation it’s the two themselves who are the standout role models. Kay’s willingness to forgive the deepest of betrayals is a testament to God’s love and forgiveness of us.
Moreover, while Phil’s early failings are far from behaviors worthy of duplication, his humbling of himself before our Creator and his commitment to Him as well as his recommitment to his family are. Everyone falls. Not everyone gets back up.
Get outta here with that nonsense.
James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.