Blind Revenge aka A Closed Book

This was the official website created to promote the 2010 English-language thriller, Blind Revenge | A Closed Book from the late Raoul Ruiz. The content below is from the site's archived pages, as well as from outside reviews. 


Directed by RAOUL RUIZ
Screenplay by GILBERT ADAIR
TOM CONTI (Sir Paul) - Shirley Valentine, Reuben, Reuben
DARYL HANNAH (Jane) - Kill Bill, Blade Runner, Splash
MIRIAM MARGOYLES (Mrs. Kilbride) - Age of Innocence, Romeo &Juliet,
Harry Potter
ELAINE PAGE (Canvasser) - Evita, Cats
SIMON MACCORKINDALE (Andrew Boyles) - Casualty
MATTHEW KAUFMAN (1st Interviewee)
WILLIAM ELLIS (2nd Interviewee)
MATTHEW EARLEY (3rd Interviewee)
BROGAN WEST (4th Interviewee)

  • Director of Photography RICARDO ARONOVICH Executive Producers ANDREW SOMPER RICHARD CHARLES
  • Based on the Novel by GILBERT ADAIR Written by GILBERT ADAIR Directed by RAOUL RUIZ

The Story

Jane appears to be ideal: attractive, intelligent, unruffled by her employer's abrupt eccentricities. But, gradually, we come aware that Jane has another agenda. Incrementally, Sir Paul's familiar surroundings are altered. His housekeeper is diverted away, strange things happen around the house and he becomes increasingly dependent on his new assistant.

Jane plays increasingly sadistic games until their relationship breaks down and it becomes clear that Jane intends to kill Sir Paul. Paul grasps this too late to save himself, but the plot carries further savage twists before it reaches its conclusion.



5.6/10 Alchetron Review

Release date  22 February 2010 (2010-02-22) (United Kingdom)

Based on: A Closed Book  by Gilbert Adair

A Closed Book is a 2010 British film based on the novel of the same name by Gilbert Adair, about a blind author who employs an assistant to help him write his novels. Throughout the film the assistant starts to play crueler and crueler tricks on her employer. The film is directed by Raul Ruiz, and stars Daryl Hannah as assistant Jane Ryder, and Tom Conti as author Sir Paul. A Closed Book was filmed at Knebworth House in the UK.

Jane appears to be ideal: attractive, intelligent, unruffled by her employer's abrupt eccentricities. But, gradually, we come aware that Jane has another agenda. Incrementally, Sir Paul's familiar surroundings are altered. His housekeeper is diverted away, strange things happen around the house and he becomes increasingly dependent on his new assistant.

The film starts with a famous author, Sir Paul (Tom Conti) who is looking for an amanuensis or "ghost writer." He interviews several unsuccessful candidates until Jane Ryder (Daryl Hannah) applies for the position. Because she is intelligent and forthright, Sir Paul hires her, and he explains to her about the house and introduces Mrs. Kilbride (Miriam Margoyles), the cook and housekeeper.

They have breakfast together and discuss their pet annoyances, with Sir Paul getting disproportionately angry about Jane saying "no problem" repeatedly. They start writing the book, and Sir Paul again gets very angry at Jane for not taking his instructions. Things run smoothly until Jane starts changing things ever so slightly, like taking paintings out of their frames and turning them upside down. Sir Paul starts to suspect Jane, when she sends Mrs. Kilbride home for a week without consulting him.

Sir Paul has a "terrific fear of the dark" and while singing in the bath, he keeps hearing strange noises, which are really Jane attempting to scare him. While he is in the bath, someone turns the light off, and then Jane comes in naked and claims that the light is still on, to reassure him. Her lying and sneaking becomes more and more obvious as she lies to him about Madonna dying and O.J. Simpson committing suicide, and puts his books on the fire instead of logs. Sir Paul becomes very suspicious when Mrs. Kilbride returns to the house and she finds a puzzle that Sir Paul asked Jane to purchase, and it turns out to be the wrong puzzle. This particularly matters to Sir Paul as he wrote about the painting in his book, and he gets very, very angry at her and begins to lose trust in her.

However, his suspicions are assuaged when a Conservative MP visits his house to persuade him to vote for the Conservatives. Because of her fear of Sir Paul, she responds positively to all of his questions, and she reads aloud what Jane has written in his book. Fortunately for Jane, her transcription of his words is accurate.

However, Jane escalates her campaign against him, and one day she leaves a suit of armour lying on the floor, and displaces several desks and a number of books. She knows that Sir Paul will walk into them, which will cause him to trip and fall down the stairs. She then comes back into the house.

Eventually, Sir Paul realizes that Jane is attempting to kill him, and he has a confrontation with her, in his bedroom. She tells him that her husband had once had an art exhibition at a prestigious gallery, where he had been severely criticized by Sir Paul. Due to the subject material of his paintings, the artist had been arrested and accused of being a pedophile. After comparing Sir Paul to "a closed book," Jane shoves him into a closet and she leaves the house, with Sir Paul screaming after her. However, when she returns to the house out of guilt, and because she lacks the capacity to kill someone, Jane discovers that Sir Paul has escaped from the closet. Then, Sir Paul points a gun at Jane, and he reveals to her that he is also a pedophile. He invites Jane to shoot him, but she leaves the house, and he is forced to shoot himself.


  • Tom Conti - Sir Paul
  • Daryl Hannah - Jane Ryder
  • Miriam Margoyles - Mrs. Kilbride
  • Simon MacCorkindale - Andrew Boles
  • Elaine Paige - Canvasser
  • Ty Glaser - Janes successor

Critical reception was overall poor, with a few exceptions. The Times gave it one (out of five) stars and called it an "atrocious, creepy little film". The Daily Telegraph gave it 2 out of 5 stars, stating, "A Closed Book feels less like a thriller than an aesthete’s tease". The Guardian also gave a poor review and only 2 out of 5 stars, describing it as "a silly story about a blind art critic". Perhaps the most scathing is a review from Time Out London which gave the film only 1 star, finding "Raul Ruizs apologists have their work cut out for them."




Tomatometer Critics 14%| Audience 21%  


July 12, 2012

Robert Abele  Los Angeles Times  Top Critic

Review: 'Blind Revenge' loses its way

The English-language thriller from the late Raoul Ruiz is more melodrama than mystery.

Before his death last August, Raoul Ruiz's "The Mysteries of Lisbon" earned just praise as a late masterpiece of epic, sumptuous formalism from the prolific Chilean filmmaker. His English-language thriller, "Blind Revenge," completed a few years ago, won't necessarily harm the eccentric director's reputation and, in fact, its pockets of weirdness and the familiar Ruiz theme of the inconvenience of the past might draw the curious. Others will likely shrug.

Slapped with a new, more exploitative title after originally released in the U.K. as "A Closed Book," writer Gilbert Adair's "The Servant"-meets-"Sleuth" scenario has newly blind, grumpily witted British critic Sir Paul (Tom Conti, sporting black shades) hiring an American amanuensis (Darryl Hannah) to move into his sprawling, musty estate and type out his memoirs, only to gradually realize she's quietly altering the familiarity of his shut-in existence. (That chair wasn't there before!)

Though Conti's stream of arrogant patter is amusing, Hannah is mostly stiff as someone with a secretly cruel hand to play. Ruiz seems more interested, anyway, in the faded elegance of Paul's Gothic surroundings than the melodrama at hand, which dilutes the story's more sinister edges.

Even bit turns from Miriam Margolyes and Elaine Paige aren't enough to make "Blind Revenge" much more than a stagey misfire.


Release Date:July 13, 2012

Michael Nordine  L.A. Weekly Top Critic

When Raoul Ruiz passed away last year at the age of 70, he left behind one of the more revered bodies of work of his time. And though it would be lovely to be able to say that Blind Revenge – AKA A Closed Book, after the Gilbert Adair novel on which it's based – is just as vital an entry in that corpus as the Chilean auteur's four-and-a-half-hour Mysteries of Lisbon, in truth is it's a disjointed, largely forgettable affair unlikely to make much of an impression even on Ruiz completists. Filmed before Mysteries but only just now seeing a U.S. release, it's a sort of academic thriller in the same vein as Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer: a close-quarters tale of a blind author (Tom Conti) and his newly-hired amanuensis (Daryl Hannah) rife with unexplained goings on in the night and a master/apprentice relationship that leans ever more deathward throughout. Blind Revenge works best on a cerebral level, with the shifting power dynamics between Conti and Hannah and occasional suggestions of the maybe-supernatural providing some much-needed atmosphere; however intriguing these mind games may at first be, though, the late-in-the-game revelation that apparently spurs them in the first place isn't worthy of the questions Ruiz has already raised. It's like turning on a lamp in a room that looked just fine by candlelight.


February 19, 2010

* David Jenkins Time Out Top Critic

Raoul Ruiz apologists have got their work cut out with this musty ‘Sleuth’ imitation which goes right ahead and commits film school no-no number one: never let a blind Tom Conti and Daryl Hannah loose around a stately home together then just sit back and wait for the sparks to fly. It’s the third film that Ruiz has made in collaboration with author/critic Gilbert Adair, though it displays precious little of their vast individual talents. With its unlovely DV aesthetic and cheesy midi-synth score, the film has clearly been put together on the cheap. Yet it’s also severely lacking in the fundamentals, with its leaden script (sample dialogue: ‘You can hear me… smile?’) delivered with nuance-free torpor from Hannah and hysterical thesp showboating from Conti, and free-floating direction which manages to bottle none of the intensity this wicked game of cat and mouse purportedly generates. That and the fact that its final-act reveal appears to have nothing to do with the preceding film means you might want to cross the road to avoid this one.


February 18, 2010

Xan Brooks  Guardian

Eccentric Chilean director Raoul Ruiz has rifled through the Hammer bag of horror tricks and come up with a ­relentlessly silly, oddly diverting yarn about a blind art critic (Tom Conti) and his ­malign personal assistant (Daryl Hannah). A crash zoom alerts us to the fact that Conti has no eyes in his head! Spinning overhead shots mean that someone is panicking! Gilbert Adair's script keeps us in the dark until the final moments when – hey presto - the curtains are yanked back and the light breaks through. And wouldn't you know it? The big reveal is just a cheap, dull shimmer.


February 18, 2010

Leo Robson  Financial Times

Events gradually turn Gothic, with things going bump in the night, as they often do in films containing blind characters or set in country houses, so here the fun is doubled, and it all culminates in a final twist that has to be seen to be disbelieved.