One of the more original and engaging modern sci-fi films, The Vast of Night is a great example of how less is more, and how low budget doesn’t mean the movie can’t be great or well crafted. One of the things that drew to me to the movie was it’s intriguing trailer, yet also the premise which could have been set in most if any era as long as that era has radio. The local radio station is the heart of the movie, and I guess the 1950s was a perfect setting for the movie, especially considering the really suspenseful switchboard scene, a thing that probably isn’t as common anymore as it used to be. This movie also works at a considerably quick pace, especially the middle section which changes from being calm and quiet to very frantic and chaotic. All due to a sound that a young high school student picked up over the phone line…
Jake Horowitz is excellent as Everett, the local young DJ who decides to investigate a mysterious sound because, as he likes to say, “It’s good radio.” Sierra McCormick’s Fay is his friend and confidant who goes along with his quest, mostly out of curiosity but also cause he’s very convincing at getting her to do what he wants. There is a magnificent long take sequence that covers the entire town, going from the radio station all the way to the basketball game that the whole town is watching, and it is the movie’s primary highlight. It also shows how quiet everything around the game is, which is important to the movie’s overall atmosphere, and Andrew Patterson, the film’s director, skillfully trends the line between what is real and what could be possible.
Although I’m not sure if I’m a fan of how the movie concludes, The Vast of Night is a great and captivating movie, one of those gems that if you get to experience it on the big screen (I viewed it at home, sadly) you should be so lucky to do so. One of my favorite scenes is when Fay and Everett test out Fay’s tape recorder, just because it shows how both of them work as characters and how Everett has this odd charisma that enables him to get away with doing things his way. I recommend this movie, and I hope that Patterson is enabled to do more work in the future that is this good.
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