Atmospheric movies have something special about them. Is it the suspense? Is it the visual spectacle that it is? Or is it the sheer essence of cinematic experience that leaves you wanting more?
The Vast of Night is an atmospheric ballad of its kind and by far the most refreshing film in recent memory that has dealt suspense with debonair, accompanying the soothing cinematography.
The Vast of Night: Warm and Charm
The Vast of Night synopsis around Wikipedia and the likes might have you mistake it to be a genre film. To put it succinctly, “A film about Aliens and conspiracy”. But no! I would call that oversimplification of a movie that is a sophisticated tale of intrigue carried out in Charming fashion. If Stranger Things, or Dark had you reminiscing the 70s, even as a millennial, The Vast of Night does more…
A trip down memory lane
This piece of art is a passionate ode to the 50s, one that is ever so effused by the charm and the idyllic beauty of the erstwhile era. A calmer time, where people felt the passage of time and had actual conversations that mattered. Not being pedantic of course but, we millennials live in a fast-paced and demanding world. Sure, there’s nothing “wrong” about that, yet there is something romantically engaging to imagine a life in the 50s.
The Vast of Night is a slow-burning thriller – Quite sure of itself and footed in a thorough but slow revelation of suspense. And like the 50s, the movie manages to embody the best of that era. There’s no rush and there’s no push, the thrill of the journey is all about the mystery that gets more mystifying as we get close to the reveals.
What's going on during "The Vast of Night"
The plot follows two teens who live in a quaint suburb in 50s New Mexico, as they discover strange signals over the radio in the station they run. The elders and much of the already small population are at the game with family and friends, as an ominous danger looms in the skies. What follows is the captivating journey we embark on with the characters as they confront witnesses and unravel government conspiracies of the past.
Why should you watch it?
The cinematography is orgasmic in fact, mellifluously tracking alleyways, streets and the landscape of the suburb. A tracking shot immediately after the first act establishes the distance between the protagonists and the people at the game with subtle literal reference over the area the camera spans between them. This I believe might be one of my favourite shots in cinema history. Shot to relay events happening in real-time, the Vast of Night constantly establishes a sense of urgency despite the slow but steady flourish.
In between all that’s happening on screen is the riveting sound design. Brevity and meticulously exercised simplicity lend the movie an – almost supernatural energy – Never deviating from the story but always lending gravitas to the magic on screen. It’s not your typical – “at your face” loud music that a lot of “genre” movies go for gleefully. Sometimes less is more, and in this case, The Vast of Night benefits off it.
The Classic References
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.
War of the Worlds.
These are shows, books, and films that are immensely loved by people worldwide. They all had a unique charm, a personality if I might say… one that is lacking in the movies of today. And, I was pleasantly surprised The Vast of Night reminded me of these movies.
Finally, I didn’t miss them no-more.
Finally, there is a movie that I can steadfastly include in the ranks of the hall of fame movies above. A lot of this might scream “Spielbergian” fanboi. Sure, call it that. But I have a better phrasing for you –
Sheer Charm and Atmosphere.
Nights are cold, and blankets help. A warm mug of chocolate with a pack of chip or corn, or whatever you fancy, get all that. Shut your phone for a while, and be transported to the 50s.