Vinyan Movie Review

0
0
Subscribe to Emmanuelle Beart alerts
Coming on the heels of the spellbinding backwoods horror flick Calvaire, Belgian filmmaker Fabrice Du Welz's Vinyan is an incredibly intense and, sadly, obtuse third-world metaphysical thriller that is bound to disappoint less discriminating viewers. Maybe even discriminating ones.

Ostensibly a mash-up of tsunami-inspired tragedy and Lord of the Flies-styled allegory, Vinyan opens with an Anglo couple, Paul (Rufus Sewell) and Jeanne (Emmanuelle Béart), living on the Thai coast and trying to get on with their lives six months after the tsunami swept their little boy away. Attending an art opening, they see a grainy film of Burmese children left to fend for themselves in abandoned jungle outposts and Jeanne sees her son among them. While the image is never clear (the child is hobbling away from the camera), Jeanne is convinced and immediately plunges into the Bangkok night, a riot of neon and prostitution, to find a human smuggler who can take her to where the film was shot. Led by Thaksin Gao (played by the affable and afroed Petch Osathanugrah), Paul and Jeanne sail into war -torn Burma to find the "white child" in the country's fog, mud, and forest. Of course, that's when things get bizarre, and the film spins out leisurely towards a mind-boggling conclusion.

To call Vinyan a horror film would be a mistake. Despite the premise, there is truly nothing otherworldly or fantastic about the events in the movie. At one point, seemingly just for the sake of justifying the title, Thanksin Gao mentions that vinyan are souls who cannot rest. This, however, really seems to have little bearing on the plot at hand. The abandoned children, while menacing (particularly when they glower, faces painted white, lips aquiver with red lipstick) aren't ghosts. Or vinyan. They're just kids left to natural forces, kids gone feral.

Oddly enough, it's the first 40 minutes of the film that feel the most awkward. Paul and Jeanne's nocturnal hunt for Thaksin Gao is engaging, but it's never developed nor believable. Where the film could have gone for a suspenseful Blow-Out styled investigation (maybe a montage of Paul closely examining the pixels of the film), Du Welz just pushes the mystery out of the way so he can get the cast into the jungle. It's as if the point was to push the actors into the mud, to have them railing at each other while they're tripping over tree stumps, rather than tell a coherent story. If you've ever wanted to see Emmanuelle Béart in a decaying dress, covered in mud, and pouting out her lips while delirious, this is your movie.

Like his previous feature Calvaire, Du Welz loves putting people in nasty, horrific, and beguiling circumstances. Rufus Sewell looks inordinately mad most of the time and sweats like a linebacker, while Béart, is simply bewildered. At least Petch Osathanugrah (a Thai pop musician) is having fun. The script is indeed a mess, but at least the film is beautiful to watch. Cinematographer Benoît Debie (Irreversible, Innocence) continues his winning streak. His work is magnificent here.

While most of the movie is aggravating in its "half-developed-ness" something must be said of the first two minutes and final five. Both of these sequences lift Vinyan into the realm of truly unforgettable imagery. The finale opens with a shot of bubbles rising and spinning, overdubbed with an almost elemental and rib-breaking scream that captures, as no traditional imagery could, the horror of the 2004 tsunami. And it doesn't give away much to mention that the final minutes of the movie involve Béart standing nude in a jungle clearing, the light hazy around her, the sun maybe just rising, while dozens of untamed children paw at her body. It's envelope-destroying stuff.

Too bad the other 85 minutes of the movie are so forgettable.

Cast & Crew

Director : Fabrice Du Welz

Producer : Michael Gentile

Starring : , , Petch Osathanugrah, , Amporn Pankratok,

0
0
Subscribe to Emmanuelle Beart alerts

Comments

Vinyan Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, 2008

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Jennifer Aniston Helps Prank An Awkward Interviewer

Jennifer Aniston teamed up with British radio host Scott Mills to play a prank...

Jennifer Aniston Helps Prank An Awkward Interviewer

Anna Kendrick Wonders How She Snuck Into The Cast Of Into The Woods

Disney’s latest musical, Into the Woods, is getting a lot of attention as its...

Anna Kendrick Wonders How She Snuck Into The Cast Of Into The Woods

Despite Their Stylish Looks, One Direction Insist They're Not High Maintenance

One Direction are, quite simply, the best Artist of the Year. While this fact...

One Direction - Despite Their Stylish Looks, One Direction Insist They're Not High Maintenance

Shia LaBeouf In Most Awkward Interview Ever?

We’ve all seen our fair share of awkward celebrity interviews, but few could be as extreme as actor / performance...

Shia LaBeouf In Most Awkward Interview Ever?

Bombay Bicycle Club Criticise U2 For Being "Disconnected From Young People"

Jack Steadman, the lead singer of British indie stars Bombay Bicycle Club...

Bombay Bicycle Club Criticise U2 For Being

Fox Pulls 'Red Band Society' Mid-Season

In news which will exacerbate what has been a pretty disastrous fall for new TV shows across all networks...

Fox Pulls 'Red Band Society' Mid-Season

Melissa Rivers Posts Touching Picture Of Her Mother On Thanksgiving

Joan Rivers’ daughter has marked the first Thanksgiving she’s spending without...

Melissa Rivers Posts Touching Picture Of Her Mother On Thanksgiving

Home - Trailer

Directed by Tim Johnson ('Antz', 'Over The Hedge'), 'Home' is an adaptation of the 2007 science fiction Adam Rex novel...

Home Trailer

Is 'The Imitation Game' Worthy of Its Oscars Talk?

Though the bookmakers are unwilling to ease the odds on Boyhood to win Best Picture at the...

Is 'The Imitation Game' Worthy of Its Oscars Talk?
Advertisement