61 Days of Halloween: Vinyan
Most holidays worth their while encompass entire seasons, such as Christmas, for example. However, as you may have noticed there is a corporate push every year for us to think about the next holiday even sooner. While this has many negative side effects I figure I may as well embrace it.
Since Labor Day is really only good for college football and movie marathons cinematically it is as significant as Arbor Day, which means the next big day on the calendar is Halloween and we can start looking toward it starting now.
Daily I will be viewing films in the horror genre between now and then and sharing the wealth. Many, as is usually the case, will not be worth it so for every disappointment, I will try and suggest something worth while as well.
Vinyan was an unknown horror-drama film to me before picking it up at Best Buy one day. This film is an absolute success visually and there are myriad reasons why. Students of cinematography should watch this film because rarely if ever have I seen so many different techniques employed in a single film so naturally, and effectively. It was most certainly not what Hitchcock would’ve called “pictures of people talking” but rather “paintings in which people moved.”
A second, solid bonus is the performances of the two leads. Emmanuelle Béart especially is fantastic as usual and definitely gets to flex her muscle as she slowly loses her bearings over the stress of thinking she has seen her long lost son. Rufus Sewell’s performance is no less complicated. He is strong and must get angry, impatient, and sympathetic. He must also try to deal with the possibility that Béart is right, and try to be the grounded one, while he is just as stressed.
While the inciting incident, first act and first plot point are very strong the film does sort of lose a little bit of its momentum after the idea of the Vinyan is introduced. Aside from being onlookers they never assert themselves as a presence psychologically or physically and that is what ultimately leads to this film falling short of greatness that and the herky-jerky pace of act two.
The ending’s disturbing nature, and rightness in timing, doesn’t quite make up the squandered potential the film shows. The visual variety ultimately save it some examples are: a shot of foreground colored differently than the background, the red lighting in the rain, the use of an overhead shots, POV of a man being buried, shafts of sunlight through the trees, fog, fog and light through the trees; a silhouette and more. If only it had closed the deal narratively speaking and accompanied the visuals better.