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ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Vinyan (2008)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Fabrice Du Welz

Starring:
Emmanuelle Béart/Janet
Rufus Sewell/Paul
Julie Dreyfus/Kim
Petch Osathanugrah/Thaksin Gao
6 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Two sour-puss love birds (Sewell and Beart), living in Thailand hire scummy pirates to take them into Burma by boat in the hopes of finding their missing son, who went bye-bye in the tsunami. They should've hired Rambo to take em up river – shit would've played out differently.
THE LOWDOWN
I didn't really know what to expect out of Fabrice du Welz's follow up to his "critical darling" CALAVAIRE (The Ordeal or the "Gay Texas Chainsaw Massacre" as I like to call it). Shite, I didn't even know its basic premise before checking in – so I went in blind with zero expectations and came out of it… well…I didn't know, and I'm still not sure. It is a credit to VINYAN that it left me baffled as to how I felt about it once the check cleared. It's not an obvious film that's for damn sure and I have to respect that. So let me break it down Burt Reynolds style and let's see what comes out of it.

VINYAN started off strong with an emotionally resonant and powerful initial premise, it then continued to own me via its astounding LSD inspired imagery, trip out sound design (loved the rising guitar lick that crescendo to gibberish) and its dread filled yet hauntingly beautiful locations. Special mention goes out to DOP Benoit Debie's cinematography. He captured Thailand and the dark corners of Burma in ways that have yet to be accomplished on film to this day (in my pointless opinion of course). My jaw and my pants dropped! WOW! The acting from our two protagonists rammed in hard as well. Rufus Sewell held his own like the champ that he is and Emmanuelle Beart in particular spanked hard with her brave, vulnerable and unrestrained performance. Finally, although lots of it went over my hollow noggin, the last block gets a pat on the cheek for its visual impact and its visceral finale that hit where it counts – the gut.

Now VINYAN did lose me FOR SURE in some respects. The pacing was sluggish during the middle section and even all of the goodies listed above couldn't save me from feeling it. I kept wanting and waiting for something concrete to happen. I don't know… a hard hitting plot turn perhaps? Didn't really get it. I was feeling dicked around. Or maybe I just wasn't getting it. Bottom line; At the end I felt like I had watched a 3 hour Russian epic as opposed to the 97 minutes show that it was. Moreover the random plot holes, the lack of character meat for Sewell (he needed more to do) and the film's odd continuity choices damaged the experience as well. Did they lack coverage? Did the film get the blender treatment in editing? Were half of the muck-ups artistic choices? Again… maybe some were… not sure. And why was Julie Dreyfuss in this film again? She didn't looked like she knew and I certainly didn't know either. A part that went nowhere.

At the end of it all, although I applauded VINYAN's technical aspects, I couldn't really tell ya how I felt about the substance/content and the manner in which it slammed it on the table. It should be stabbed that the movie seemed to exist on more than one plane (reality, symbolic and the spirit world), so maybe I just didn't catch the right bus. I say see it because at least it strived for more than the norm and hopefully you'll connect to it more than I did.
GORE
We get one REAL ripper in terms of gory goods and I won't give it away here. It would spoil the film.
ACTING
Rufus Sewell (Paul) came out of this looking good. His role was too thinly written if you ask me though. He was basically set dressing at the halfway mark. This was Emmanuelle Beart (Janet) show no doubt and the actress was BEYOND up to the task! What a complex and somber role! Petch Osathanugrah (Thaksin Gao) was perfect as the shady, scummy yet potentially good hearted pirate.
T & A
We get Emmanuelle Beart fully nude, I'm talking boith sides of the toast. And the ladies get a hefty serving of Sewell ass!
DIRECTING
Armed with his Grade A (A for ass kicking) DOP, Fabrice du Welz delivered a visually striking picture, one filled with memorable National Geographic on acid shots, artistic inclined framing and a dark mood that cut like a knife. He also used and milked his locations for all they were worth.
SOUNDTRACK
Composer Chanfrault put out a quasi experimental score, one filled with plays on sounds (them drums kicked my ass when they arose). It was one of those "take out the bong, toke it and go to hell" type of spiel. It backed up the "out there" imagery and warped content of the film ideally.
BOTTOM LINE
VINYAN reminded me of DON’T LOOK NOW meets APOCALYPSE NOW meets CHILDREN OF THE CORN meets that schroom trip I once had. The affair had strong actors, looked absolutely MACABRE GORGEOUS and sported at least two back-handing scenes. But its vagueness, clunky pace, random plot holes and heavy handed experimental aura left me on the fence. Maybe if I see it again, I'll get more out of it. But that begs the question; do I even want to see it again? Not sure…
BULL'S EYE
Director Fabrice du Welz initially wanted to remake "Quién puede matar a un nino?" a film about a couple versus killer kids. When rights issues got in the way, the road to VINYAN began.

VINYAN was shot in Thailand.

Composer Chanfrault also worked on HIGH TENSION and INSIDE
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