Wherein there was plenty of breathing

I watched Don’t Breathe recently, which is a movie that piqued my interest when it was first released, but I never actually saw it. A film about three no-goodniks who set out to rob a blind man, I recall hearing that it was pretty good and had an interesting series of twists. So thank you, Netflix, for finally acquiring this one. I’m always happy to cross something off my To-Do list.

I wish I could say that Don’t Breathe met my expectations, but to be honest, I wasn’t really feeling it. That said, I don’t think it’s a bad movie, I think it’s mostly that I can’t maintain focus for that long while at home. I really do need to go see something in the theater to get the most out of it. Anyway, yeah, I was a little taken aback by the big plot reveals. Nothing totally out of left field, but they certainly kept it interesting. I mean, without the twists, this would have just been like a gritty, backwards Home Alone. And that wouldn’t have been good at all.

I’m going to spoil the heck out of this movie now, so maybe stop reading here if you care.

To elaborate, our anti-heroes break into the Blind Man’s (he isn’t given a name) home to steal his mad stacks, which he earned as a settlement for some yuppie running over and killing his daughter. They come to a very questionable door to the basement, which has got a big honkin’ lock on it. The robbers think the money is down there. I immediately knew that something alive was down there. And my first thought was reanimated remains of the daughter, but actually it turned out to be that Blind Man captured the girl responsible for said daughter’s death, and had her locked up in 5/6ths of a DIY padded cell. Imagine an animal enclosure at the zoo, but without the plexiglass what separates you from the animals.

What was happening here is that Blind Man decided that the best way to be reimbursed for his lost child (aside from the $300,000 settlement) would be to kidnap the killer and then force her to birth him a new child. And, like, that’s a little extreme. This is when the film confirms that the old guy is coo-coo bananas. You think you’re supposed to root for him at first but then this twist happens. Clearly there are no good guys in this movie. But Hostage Girl ends up dead, and Blind Man’s plan C is to knock out the lady robber, tie her up, and then get her knocked up instead. To this end, he says he’s not a rapist (questionable in 2018), and instead uses a turkey baster full of chilled man gravy to do the job. But that plan goes awry, robber lady escapes, happy(ish) ending.

I have two major problems with this movie, and the first is many just due to my lack of understanding. Near the beginning, one of the robbers puts a “chloro-bomb” in Blind Man’s bedroom to keep him sedated. Five minutes later, the old guy is downstairs defending his home like a champ. Why… why didn’t the chloroform work? Is it the distribution method? Are some people less susceptible than others? Was it made improperly? Do I not correctly understand how chloroform works? I would have liked an explanation, is all. But it could be that it just leads into my second problem with the movie.

Blind Man is a super person or mutant or whatever. For one, he was immune to the chloroform bomb, maybe. Also, he’s really damn good at being blind. And I get that one. Being a veteran, he’s obviously a little more capable than the average human, but he navigates the house and beats on the robbers like nobody’s business. There are a few moments where he’s put at a disadvantage due to his lack of sight, but they’re few and far between. And at the end, he is hit in the head with a crowbar no fewer than five times, takes a fifteen-foot (or more) fall onto a concrete floor, and then gets shot in the side. And we’re talking a shot into his side from the side, so it’s definitely piercing a vital organ or two. It’s not just a flesh wound! And he survives all that! How even? Like, I would not have been surprised if Blind Man was revealed to be Wolverine with dementia. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

Actually, there was one other thing that annoyed me, and this is something that lots of movies do: it started with a scene from the ending. Like, a little two-minute shot of how things end up, and it’s like… well you just killed the ending. I mean, yeah, I can still appreciate the journey that we go on to get there, but why do that at all? It’s the dumbest thing and I sincerely wish that filmmakers would just cut it out already.

Aside from those gripes, yeah, I guess it was pretty good. Though that may be in part because I’ve watched a number of legitimately bad movies lately. And I still have no idea who I was supposed to root for. Maybe no-one? I guess that’s okay. I really just hope someone let Blind Man’s dog out of that car. That poor little pupper! I was scared the entire movie that someone was going to hurt the dog, but they never did! Hooray! That alone should qualify this as a good movie.


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