Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Ending That Wasn't There - Vinyan (2008)

I really hate when this happens. Vinyan runs 96 minutes, and 90 minutes of it are absolutely fantastic. Then the last 6 minutes tanks the whole thing. Not since High Tension have I been so pissed at a movie's ending. It's almost like the director knew he was going to piss everyone off, and reveled in it. And coming from Fabrice Du Welz, the helmer of Calvaire, Vinyan is a dissapointment. Calvaire is a bizarre, fucked up French horror film that really doesn't pull any punches. And 99% of the time, Vinyan doesn't, either. But that last 1% is a bitch.

The story is about a couple who lost their child in the tsunami of '04, I believe. It's been 6 months since it happened, and they're still coping with the loss. By chance, Jeanne(Emmanuelle Beart) sees a video about impoverished children, and she thinks she sees her son amongst them. So she and her husband, Paul(Rufus Sewell), set out to see if their son is alive. The tricky part is where they think he is - in Burma. So they pay a shady character to take them to Burma, and things happen from there on.

The first thing I want to talk about is the acting. Sewell is great, and I really wish he would do more films of substance, or at least of a higher profile. I just want to see him more often, because I think he's a really good actor. Regardless, he pulls off a nuanced, realistic performance that's matched by Beart every step of the way. These are real people in real situations, and melodrama or over-acting never rears its ugly head.

But this fact only makes me more angry, because I think a good ending was very possible, but the scriptwriter or whoever decided to confuse and annoy the audience by inserting an ending that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. I can't give any specifics, obviously, but rest assured your rage will boil over once this movie is over.

It's a damn shame, really, because like I said, the rest of Vinyan is top-notch. It's a very atmospheric film, and it keeps a consistent mood of dread and uncertainty throughout. It's firmly set in reality, and Sewell and Beart sell the shit out of it. Their emotions ring true in every sense, and there's nothing to do but take the journey with them. But again, the ending tanks it. For every scene of parental pain and anguish, the last few minutes add a lifetime of bullshit and contrived circumstance. Believe me, I don't want this to be reality, but it is. I so loved this film, but when everything is said and done, Fabrice really let me down.

I guess it's up to you whether or not 99% of a great film is better than nothing. For me, there's nothing worse than a sour-tasting ending, for the obvious reason. It's the last thing you see; if it sucks, it diminishes the whole experience. Such is the ending of Vinyan, and i'll forever weep for what could have been. Oh well, I guess. Nothing I've said up to this point can diminish how good most of the film was, so I guess you could call that a small victory. But in the end, I'll only ever think of how much better the film would have been if the last 6 minutes lived up to the previous 90. It's up to you whether or not that sounds like a worthy use of an hour-and-a-half. Personally, I'd say it was, since so much of it was captivating and worthwhile. But man...way to crap all over a great achievement.

No comments:

Post a Comment