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A movie directed by Fabrice Du Weltz

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Beautifully shot pretension.

  • Feb 1, 2012
** out of ****

"Vinyan" has been marketed as a horror film; which is no surprise, given that the director behind it is Fabrice Du Welz. If you haven't seen a little movie known as "Calvaire", then that name means nothing to you; but if you have, well then, there you go. Anyways, "Vinyan" is not so much a horror film but more-so a drama with a few disturbing, haunting, creepy, horrific moments that apparently sell it off as belonging into that genre. The marketing boys responsible for this one should be put out of the job.

But that's just a pet peeve; and it merely kicks off the decently-sized list of them that I have surrounding Welz's second feature film. I think it would be best to start out by saying a few words: I respect this film, and having seen it, I still can say that I respect Welz for making it. But that's not to say that I particularly liked it. This is the kind of film where it revels in simplicity; yet it has some sort of deeper agenda on its mind that never comes full circle. In my opinion, any film remotely like that is a disappointment any day; and disappointing certainly comes to mind when I think of this film, even if it's only been a few dozen minutes after finishing it.

A lot went wrong with the film. The action is set to the beautiful back-drop of Thailand and its island regions; which makes for some excellent scenery/eye-candy. I'm fine with that; but what I'm not fine with is the story. A couple is grieving after having lost their son to a tsunami that hit the said country. It left many dead; and their child's body was never found. This gives them some hope; although they've been merely hoping for some time now, and they'd like nothing more than to have their little boy back with them again.

Their belief in their child's survival is given extreme support when the wife in this couple notices a young boy - in a video shown at some art convention or something that the two protagonists attend - that closely resembles their very own. Determined to find out the truth, both husband and wife travel to the islands of Thailand - which are heavily populated by criminals and underdeveloped tribes of primitive humans - where they shall attempt to find their kid.

I said I have problems with the film; and I do. The most I can say about my general distaste for the plot is that in spite of the intriguing set-up - which somehow throws mysticism and horror tropes into the mix - there's still a general sense of pure boredom. I didn't care about these characters, and therefore I kept searching for alternative reasons to give a shit about this half-assed narrative; finding no positive results. By the end; I was pissed, tired, exhausted, dazed, confused, and greatly let down.

I have no doubt that a few curious movie-goers will find "Vinyan" to be intriguing and thoroughly entertaining. I wish I could have felt the same about it, and given the appeal that Welz's previous feature had with me; I was expecting something a little more, I don't know, conclusive and satisfactory than this. If anything, the film is a solid approximation of what happens to most films when their maker decides to go all un-conventional and blend art-house aspirations with elements not commonly found in such films. There's plenty about "Vinyan" that is indeed artsy - fantastic cinematography, beautiful locations, and solid performances - but little that is engaging or memorable. I wouldn't tell anyone to avoid it; nor would I tell most to see it. Perhaps it depends on your tolerance for poorly-marketed, somewhat contrived pieces of cinema. But when it comes to me and this film, there is no problem; only minor nitpicks, which is enough to turn my head in the other direction. Fortunately, I'll be able to move on; and with pleasure.

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February 02, 2012
I saw this when it came out, and I really don't remember much about it save the climax. I don't think I'll watch it again.
More Vinyan (2008 movie) reviews
review by . April 12, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
VINYAN (apparently meaning 'drifting souls') is a film that calls for stamina and courage just to sit through it. The story is so meager, related by an ill-composed, repetitive script (Oliver Blackburn and director Fabrice Du Welz), that the only reason to not turn off the DVD after the first 10 minutes is the hope that the fine actors Emmanuelle Béart and Rufus Sewell might make something of the simplistic idea. They don't.    A couple (Béart and Sewell) lives in Thailand recovering …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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VINYAN is a terrifying film that takes every parent?s worst nightmare and follows it into new realms of sheer horror. After losing their only child in the devastating tsunami of Southeast Asia, Paul (Rufus Sewell, DARK CITY) and Janet Belhmer (Emmanuelle Beart, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE) barely have the strength to go on. Despite being a little disturbed by Janet?s seemingly irrational claims that she saw their son in a documentary about the orphans living in the Burmese jungle, Paul shows his support by agreeing to join her on a search for the boy. But what they encounter on their trip are horrors both earthly and ungodly: drug traffickers threaten their lives and the presence of a clan of inexplicably rabid children seem to suggest a fate that goes far beyond death. Julie Dreyfus (KILL BILL: VOL 1) co-stars in this unimaginable descent into pure madness.
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Director: Fabrice Du Weltz
Release Date: 2008
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: April 7, 2009
Runtime: 1hr 36min
Studio: Sony Pictures
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