Currently on Amazon Prime from writer/director Andrew Patterson is a fantastic look at one night looking up into the sky with THE VAST OF NIGHT.
It is a warm night in New Mexico in 1950 when Fay (Sierra McCormick) takes over the switchboard for her mother. What Fay genuinely wants to do is use her new tape recorder to interview people. Guiding her along is Everett (Jake Horowitz), a radio DJ at WOTW that everyone in town listens to on the local station.
While a sporting event is going on at the high school, strange things are happening that Fay and Everett are taking notice of. Fay is experiencing strange telephone calls from townsfolk about
noises they are hearing and then the calls drop. Fay calls Everett to ask if any of his callers are noticing strange happenings as well.
That’s when Everett receives a telephone call from a man named Billy (Bruce Davis) who claims to know what has been going on in the world. He tells them a story that leaves Fay and Everett stunned but even more shocking is the proof the caller offers that leads them straight to a forgotten tape in the local library.
Both Fay and Everett know that it is time to do everything possible to discover what is happening to their small town before word spreads as fast as the panic!
McCormick as Fay is a character ahead of her time. Gifted with a recorder, she wants to learn to interview people about their stories. She sees a career for herself outside the small dusty little town in New Mexico. She is clearly smart, clever and on the hunt for answers. McCormick gives her character everything she needs to succeed, even a bit of healthy fear. Her performance is stunning.
Horowitz as Everett is the town big guy because, after all, he is the DJ of the radio station! There was a time when radio stations were the gods of bringing music to the masses. They could walk down the street and have people be in awe. Horowitz pulls that off marvelously and when the time comes to jump in with Fay, he becomes as serious about every move they make. This is a dynamic duo and I was all in every step of the way.
Other cast include Cheyenne Barton as Bertsie, Mark Banik as Gerald, Gregory Peyton as Benny, Rodkey Oliver as Adam, Mallorie Rodak as Susan, Mollie Milligan as Marjorie, Ingred Fease as Gretchen, Brandon Stewart as Sam, Krik Griffith as Lon and Gail Cronauer as Mabel Blanche.
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THE VAST OF NIGHT is actually quite brilliantly done. Not only is it set in a time where it was a new thing to hear and see the stories of UFO’s and such, but everything about the film harks back to the 1950’s.
The cast bring it all together reeling me into their journey but along with the costuming, cars, music and gathering of a town at the local gymnasium on a Friday night is reminiscent to me. I am the type that has to be drawn in hook, line and sinker and THE VAST OF NIGHT does just that.
It is not an ‘in your face’ story or an explosion of aliens but instead the sleuthing of Fay and Everett who are not about to sit around and be taken over by something they do not understand. These two are on the case, as it were, to discover what is true and how they can stop it if that is even something they can do.
Writers Patterson and Craig W. Sanger have made every effort to make the audience believe they are in New Mexico in the 1950’s but they have also added homages to other films and filmmakers. The radio station WOTW where Everett is a DJ stands for ‘War of the Worlds’ from the H.G. Wells classic, the character of Renny is Michael Rennie who was Klaatu in the 1951 THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. Even the town of Cayuga gives homage to Rod Serling’s Cayuga Productions.
The relationship between Fay and Everett was a straight joy to watch. This is a film that I would highly recommend for those who want to sit back and have a good yarn be told with the lights off and a bowl of popcorn.
In the end – the answers are in what they hear!