The late 1950’s holds a certain romantic nostalgia in the marvelous Sci-fi fantasy, The Vast of Night. Shot in rich warm tones and a 2.40 : 1 ratio, the sweeping yarn follows the mysterious happenings one night in a sleepy New Mexico town. Beginning just after twilight, Everett (Jake Horowitz) is helping the local high school with recording equipment before his shift at the local radio station. He meets up with young Fay (Sierra McCormick), a switchboard operator and budding news reporter, with her very own reel-to-reel recorder and microphone. The two chat a bit and and head off to their respective evening shifts totally unaware of what is to come.
Fay picks up a strange frequency on the phone and shares it with Everett. Fascinated Everett then shares the frequency over the airwaves and thus begins one of the most engrossing and original films in years. It isn’t any one element that stands out in The Vast of Night but a symphony of raw talent and creativity that makes this movie something you can’t miss.
To begin with the script by James Montague and Craig W. Sanger bristles with originality and snappy dialogue. Long scenes of dialogue pop with a savory flair that makes them endlessly watchable. Too, their script is a expertly mapped piece of work that minimizes the need for eye-popping effects in favor of scenes that ignite imagination and wonder.
Then there is the sharp direction by Andrew Patterson. With what is apparently his first feature, he orchestrates an engrossing way of bringing said script to life. With the aforementioned rich photography by M.I. Littin-Menz, we are whisked away on long tracking shots that fill in as much of the atmosphere as they do the plot. Seriously. In one shot we leave Fay at her switchboard, snake through neighborhoods and end up at the high school basketball game in one, single, exhilarating shot.
None of this would work though without the endearing performances by leads Horowitz and McCormick. The chemistry the two have is phenomenal as they play scenes with one another, she the swooning but smart Fay and he the sharp tongued fast talker. As the two work together to solve a mystery, Fay’s mental clarity comes to the fore while Everett becomes increasingly frightened at what they may discover. Could it be another Sputnik by the Russians? Or is it really aliens from outer space? Does he even want to know?
The Vast of Night works on so many levels that one review is simply not enough. Suffice it to say, see it as soon as you can. I was left with a belief that creativity is not dead, that there is still wonder left, and still more mysteries to uncover. An impressive feat for any movie.
Rating: 9 out of 10 stars
THE VAST OF NIGHT arrives on Prime Video TODAY.
|The Vast of Night|