First things first: The Vast Of Night is most likely the movie with the smallest budget that I’ve reviewed and I’m pretty sure by a pretty big margin. It cost apparently less than a million to make so you need to take that into consideration, especially since there are sci-fi elements and UFO weirdness. What the first time director/writer/editor Andrew Patterson has managed to make out of his passion project is nothing short of extraordinary.
What you might notice immediately is the usage of extremely long takes which is both a cost-cutter and a challenge for the lead actors, Sierra McCormick (Fay) and Jake Horowitz (Everett). The story takes place in the 50’s so for them there’s also a certain linguistic twang added to their fast-spoken dialogue. Notably there’s a 10-minute, uninterrupted scene for McCormick with a lot of lines and button pushing at the same time. That’s also why you get to know a lot about the characters very quickly.
The Vast Of Night also has their audio fighting against the big timers. There’s an underplayed synth/ambient score from Erick Alexander and Jared Bulmer, both also first timers in a feature. The score shines the most during the location transitions and takes a backseat when arriving. That’s when the sound design of city noises and radio sound take the spotlight. Overall sound and the gloomy score compliment each other really well from scene to scene. Talking about the location transitions, the film’s cinematography is rather impressive for the size of it. A lot of DIY-feel went into the ”seemingly one-shot” driving shots across the town and the stationary shots of interiors aren’t any worse. A bit shame to the camera work, the colours don’t really work as very often it’s a bit hard to see anything but that’s probably due to high costs of VFX and matte painting.
Smileys: Dialogue, cinematography, sound, score
What an affordable delight.