By Carlos Aguilar | SydneysBuzz November 30, 2013 at 6:30PM
Blind Spot, Luxembourg's Submission for the Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. U.S. : None Yet. Production Company: Samsa Film
Probably because of the thin line between righteousness and immorality that characters in Police Dramas are forced to walk, the subgenre is still attractive to audiences even if the premises are for the most part, constantly replicated. The lone ambivalent anti-hero is usually a devoted cop, often with a family to protect or an unlikely love interest and his convictions clash with a corrupted higher-up or organized crime from within his same institution. Been there done than time and time again. Luckily, and pleasantly surprising, Luxembourgish filmmaker Christophe Wagner’s Blind Spot is undoubtedly an incredibly inventive fresh take on the established conventions.
Flowing with a carefully arranged tension the film stands out because of its originality in a realm often plagued with predicable plots and far fetched twists. Suspended from duty after a brawl with a fellow officer, Oliver Faber (Jules Werner) secretly indulges in sexual pleasures with another man. That very same night, leaving no fingerprints at the scene, an astute killer apparently murders his brother, Tom Faber (Mickey Hardt), also a policeman. In spite of obvious concerns of his emotional involvement with the case, Oliver is asked to take part in the investigation. As if the sudden death of his sibling were not enough, his personal life is also in distress as his mother questions his tumultuous behavior and inquires on his relationship with his estranged wife Marie (Gintare Parulyte).
His boss, Inspector Hastert (André Jung), thinks he has possible leads that involve a Bosnian man, the wealthy and corrupt businessman, Mr. Beaulieue (Patrick Descamps). The exposé of his illicit activities outside Luxembourg by Tom. Blindly, Oliver and his teammates put their lives at risk but do not she any light on the truth. As he deals with his own identity crisis, Oliver begins to peel off the layers of ulterior motives behind one singular crime. Someone’s calibrated personal vendetta, a suicide, and a stunning revelation that will change his perception of his loved one, are all in store for him to discover.
Unlike the one-note performances from the Stathams, the Wahlbergs and other cookie-cutter action heroes to which American viewers are accustomed, the protagonist here is intelligently multifaceted. Oliver’s motivations are fueled by the secret lives he lives in order to fulfill his family's and his own career expectations. The hyper-masculinity that comes with these super-heroes serves mostly to give simple reasons for the recklessness of their actions. They are committed by man’s men who will stop at nothing to uphold what is right, while also pursuing the clichéd hot sexual encounter that is always placed before the final face-off. Not here. Oliver’s façade as a tough machismo-driven guy is a defense mechanism to hide his sexual orientation which is seen as a weakness and would be used against him by his fellow officers. Unafraid and bold, Wagner’s leading man is one of a kind thanks to a astonishing performance by Jules Werner. He is flesh, bone, anguish, anger and all the nuances in between that conform a closeted homosexual man seeking not only to solve his brother’s death and protect his honor but also to prove his value to himself.
Formidably written and perfectly acted, Blind Spot innovatively elevates the genre and ventures into truly daring territory with a less than unlikely lead full of complexities. Christophe Wagner’s direction is not only proficient in creating the uneasy enticing atmosphere needed, his puzzling narrative is also edgy. There is no room for the overkill of the commonplace storylines indigenous to Hollywood. Instead, toying with those very predispositions, the film turns out to be something less fabricated and more grounded in reality which is definitely an achievement in such a crowded field. Placing Luxembourg in the spotlight of the cinematic landscape, the director takes advantage of the surprise factor that a film coming from the tiny nation contains and by doing so, he delivers a real success.