This shouldn’t be surprising, but I’ve been really grasping for stuff to watch these days. With a lack of sports, and a lack of new movies, I’ve been having to find a way to kill time as I sit in my home. This has meant trying out a lot of TV shows, and checking out a ton of films. Some of them have been good. Some of them have been a little disappointing. One of them, The Vast of Night, which has been getting a lot of push from Amazon because they have the rights to it now, is barely a movie.
Now, I’m not saying The Vast of Night was bad. It’s alright, all things considered. I would not recommend it, but I’ve seen worse things. It’s a debut film with a no-name cast and what I assume was basically no budget. I’m sure some of its barely qualifying as a film comes from that. I understand the director wanting to make a movie, and it was his debut. As a movie watcher, though, all of this is an issue.
The Vast of Night is primarily about two young people in a small New Mexico town. Fay has a job as a phone operator. Everett is a local radio DJ. One night, spooky, freaky things start happening. Are aliens involved? Well it’s a sci-fi movie, so take a wild guess. There are some good scenes in the movie, so like I said it wasn’t a total fiasco. It’s also 89 minutes long with what felt like a half hour of padding. To me, that means you don’t really have a movie.
There are scenes were nothing is happening. Or things are happening but they happen slowly. Even the eventful scenes seem like five or 10 minutes longer than need be. Basically every scene is just people talking, with all the work being done. It reminds me of watching procedurals from the ‘70s versus now where like you see Jim Rockford park his car and then walk all the way into a building. There is a lengthy scene of Everett talking to a guy over the radio, and sometimes the screen just straight up fades to black. I’m watching a movie where there is nothing on the screen and I’m just hearing a guy talking.
There are other movies that suffer from this, of course. You know it when you see it. The films that barely can justify their existence as a film. They are loaded with padding and bereft of incident. Now, it may be better to have a film with a whole lot of nothing than a movie that is stuffed with bad. It’s just uniquely frustrating to be watching a film like The Vast of Night knowing that it is doing the bare minimum to make the case for why I am watching it. I know nobody really watches short films, but sometimes that’s the way to go.