The Vast of Night, by Cameron J. Czaja

With movie theaters still closed due to COVID-19 and me looking for new movies to watch, I decided to go to Amazon Prime and scout out what new films they had to offer. One film that I was able to find was one called The Vast of Night. I honestly had no idea what this was about and had no idea who was in it. The only reason I was drawn to it was how it was getting stellar reviews from critics saying it’s one of the best films of the year so far. Did I enjoy it to that degree? Let’s find out. 

Set in a small Southwestern town in 1950s America, The Vast of Night follows Fay (Sierra McCormick) and Everett (Jake Horowitz). Fay works as a switchboard operator while Everett hosts a nightly radio show. One night while Fay is listening to Everett’s show she hear a mysterious audio signal. Concerned, she calls Everett to see if he knows about the signal, but unfortunately he didn’t notice it. Curious about the situation, Everett asks his listeners that if they know about this mysterious sound to call him and give him any information about it. Surprisingly, he does get a phone call from one listener by the name of Billy (Bruce Davis).  He informs Everett that the sound that they heard was something he had heard a long time ago and that it was not from our world.

I feel like the less I talk about The Vast of Night the better because as far as originality goes this is one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year. Granted that’s not saying much as I haven’t seen many new films in 2020 compared to previous years.

What makes The Vast of Night an interesting film is the narrative told in real time and how the narrative is completely driven by dialogue. If that’s not up your alley, then this film may not be for you. I, on the other hand, was completely captivated by it. The complete linear story made the pacing work for me in a way that I didn’t even notice when the credits rolled at the end. This is helped by the dialogue which grabs you once the central plot kicks in. From there, there are moments where the camera lingers on Fay and/or Everett for several minutes at a time. The mystery of the strange audio not only had me transfixed during those moments, but the mystery itself had me curious of what was to come. 

I don’t want to spoil much of The Vast of Night because, like I said earlier, the less you know the better. However, I do want to address how one particular character reminded me of Doubting Thomas and I couldn’t help but laugh about that after I realized who that certain character was like, and if you do see this film then you’ll know who I’m referring to. Like I said, I wish I could say more but I don’t want to give it away.

I think it goes without saying that The Vast of Night is truly a remarkable film with moments of tension throughout it but delivered in a slow way that pays off in the end. If you have Amazon Prime, then please do yourself a favor and check it out for yourself. It may not be for all, but I really dug it and as of right now it’s one of the best that 2020 has to offer.

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