When I checked up on the writer/director of The Vessel, Julio Quintana, I was surprised as this was only the first full-length film he’s directed or written. In light of this, the film is incredibly successful as you see very few freshman efforts like this one. The problem has nothing to do with his skills…the problem is that many viewers probably won’t love this film since it’s a very, very somber and depressing film. To enjoy it, you really have to look past this and appreciate the beautiful camerawork and care that went into this production.
This film was made in Puerto Rico and because of this, they decided to make two versions—one in Spanish and an alternate version in English. I watched the English version. However, you won’t necessarily recognize it as Puerto Rico and the setting is supposed to be some unnamed island. Apparently, a decade earlier a tsunami came through the town—destroying much of it and destroying a school filled with children. While you’d expect the people to be sad, they simply have stopped living and only exist in the time since the senseless tragedy.
Lucas Quintana, Martin Sheen, Jacqueline Duprey
16 September 2016
Martin's Grade: B
The story revolves around a young man, Leo (Lucas Quintana…and I wonder if he is related to Julio) as well as the local priest (Martin Sheen). Leo and his friend slip into the sea and both wash up on the beach….dead. Or, at least everyone thinks this. Somehow, despite appearing to be dead, Leo awakens several hours later and soon folks start to wonder if this is some sort of sign from God. As for the priest, he at first dismisses this but then realizes this possible miracle could be the spark that brings this moribund town back to life. After all, they haven’t even rebuilt the school and folks are forbidden from having any fun. However, this miracle and the town’s sudden enthusiasm for life appears to be short-lived. So what’s next for this dreary, hellish town?
Technically speaking, this is a very good religious allegory. It looks very professional and somehow Julio Quintana was able to get a highly respected actor into this movie! However, like some indie pictures, it’s not the most enjoyable picture. Heck, it’s downright depressing and it’s not a film to watch if you are feeling low yourself. However, if you want something different or if you are a film student wanting to see how a film should be made, by all means see The Vessel.