Writer/Director Fabrice Du Wetz's "VINYAN," is finally being released on dvd by SONY. The story revolves around Emannuelle Beart and Rufus Sewell as a husband and wife, grieving over the loss of their son, Joshua, 6 months earlier in the notorious Tsunami that devastated Thailand. They've stayed in Phuket, where Paul(Sewell)has been working as an architect, as the two try to cope, and Jeanne(Beart) tries to find some shred of hope her son is alive. While attending a charity dinner, where a social worker presents a video of the work she's been doing, trying to aid families in Burma, Jeanne thinks she's seen Joshua, wearing the Manchester United shirt he was last wearing before he vanished. Against Paul's better judgment, he gives in to Jeanne's demands to try finding a notorious gangster named Thaksin Gao, and have him sneak them into the dangerous, patrolled area where the boy in the video might be residing. There are warning signs early on for the viewer, of the kind of headache-inducing, experience lying ahead, as is evident in the overly long, dizzying sequence wherein the couple delves into the Phuket nightlife to find the gangster. The scene goes on ad nauseum, and without serving a necessary purpose, moving the film forward. This is also what's wrong with the entire film. Many scenes go on to long, without necessary purpose, and without offering anything fresh. Plenty of critics have compared the imagery to "Apocalypse Now," but, "VINYAN" isn't remotely as good as even the rough footage from Coppola's film. The decent into madness of Colonel Kurtz in that film is kind compared to what Du Wetz drags the audience of "VINYAN" through! As the film progresses, it only gets worse for the viewer, comparably to how bad conditions get for the two main characters.
By the time the film gets to its final act and an attempt at a shocking and disturbing finale, Du Wetz only succeeds in pissing the viewers off for making them sit through so much for nothing! Much of the film is predictable, and what isn't predictable is only so because it makes no sense! Not a horror film or even thrilling, just "horrible!"
SONY has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this dvd with 16:9 enhancement. Colors vary from being rich or subdued, but detail is consistently impressive. Contrast is also quite good, with deep blacks allowing for fine detail in many dark scenes. Some minor artifacts pop up on occasion, but they're never burdensome. A decent transfer wasted on a crappy film.
SONY has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. De Wetz tries to be creative with the mix, to no avail. As demonstrated in the "annoying" opening scene, taking place under water, while bubbles increase(to no point!) as the sound effects of the bubbles becomes needlessly higher-pitched, until....ah, it's just Beart rising from beneath the ocean, while relaxing! So, the ridiculous attempt to create tension, without any logic to the natural elements of the scene, is aided by an effective sound mix! Well, at least the mix does what it's supposed to be doing! Nothing else in the film seems to be accomplishing much! Ambient effects are frequent and effective. Dynamic range is impressive. Dialogue is always intelligible.
SONY has included a featurette examining the actual production, but it's a lot to ask a viewer to want to give up any more of their time to examining "VINYAN." This reviewer just wanted all memories of the film to go away!!! BLECCH!