In an interesting twist of social media fate, Vesper came to my attention through a Facebook message. The only reason I didn’t write this review sooner can be blamed on my unfortunate tendency to ignore Facebook—messages and all.
However, be that as it may, I’m glad I found out about this film. Let’s begin with its genre and plot.
Vesper is a short film—only 23 minutes—but it packs a lot into that compact running time. It’s a psychological thriller, in French, but worry not
my fellow idiot Americans English-only speakers, there are subtitles.
It’s about a woman named Marge (played by Agnès Godey), who appears to have a really creepy, stalker-like husband, Walter (played by Götz Otto). Marge seeks help with Creepy Husband from her nephew Christian (played by writer/director Keyvan Sheikhalishahi), a nice guy in dark glasses who says he’ll go the extra mile to protect Marge from the Hubby from Hell.
But here’s where it gets interesting. If Marge shuts Walter outside the house, how come he keeps emerging from the shadows and talking to her? How come they’re having conversations (presumably) right in front of Christian? Or are they?
The movie builds slowly as husband and wife exchange words in a verbal battle of wits that suggests there’s much more than meets the eye to Marge and Walter.
Plus, the eventual confrontation between Walter and Christian is intense to the point where I hung on every word and action.
The film is beautifully shot in contrasting dark scenes inside the house that feel like eternal night and the bright daylight of the external scenes, particularly at the end. The music sets the uneasy tone of the film and gets under your skin, along with the imagery.
As to what’s really going on with Marge and Walter, that is the question. One that this reviewer pondered long after the film’s final credits rolled.
Check out the trailer!
Oh, and Vesper is an indie production written by Sheikhalishahi when he was 17 and made at the age of 18. Color me impressed!