Skip to content

Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

The Vast of Night

2019 | United States | 91 min | More...
A still from The Vast of Night (2019)
  • Watched on C+: 3 stars (out of 5)
    on Thu Oct 7, 2021 via Amazon

    The impressive opening raised my expectations. The time is the late 1950s, the height of the Red Scare. The place is a small New Mexico town where no one locks their doors and everyone knows everyone. We learn this via a long Aaron Sorkinesque tracking shot following our leads as they walk and talk amongst the locals gathering for a high school basketball game.

    Then the creepiness kicks in, as Fay, the town switchboard operator, notices an odd signal on a line. She calls Everett, the town DJ, who puts the signal on the air in the hopes someone listening can identify it.

    And then the film loses focus. The organic dialog degenerates into on-the-nose monologues. Despite the preponderance of evidence pointing to aliens hovering over the town at that very minute, no one looks up.

    Everything builds to an abrupt ending that underwhelms given the Twilight Zone framing device and the number of dangling plot threads. The result plays like a Stephen King novel: spooky premise, believable characters, terrific small-town atmosphere, weak ending.