Vinyan

"OK"

Vinyan Review


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.



Vinyan

Facts and Figures

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 1st October 2008

Distributed by: Wild Bunch Distribution

Production compaines: The Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Fresh: 10 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 5.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Fabrice Du Welz

Producer: Michael Gentile

Starring: as Paul Belhmer, as Janet Belhmer, as Kim, as Matthias, Petch Osathanugrah as Thaksin Gao, Amporn Pankratok as Sonchaï, Omm as Sara, Apisit Opasaimlikit as Boomsong, Kurlab Lay as Boomsong's mom, Matt Ryder as Bideau, Bobbie Delcastillo as Millionnaire 1, Susan Delcastillo as Woman 1, Teerawat Mulvilai as Khun, Saichia Wongwirot as Petch, Kitinun Siangsa-Ard as Gao's bodyguard

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.