In Stéphan Castang‘s feature directorial debut film, we follow Vincent (Karim Leklou – The Stronghold, Pour la France), a man who keeps getting attacked for no particular reason. Overnight, he must change his entire way of living and figure out a way to survive.
Vincent Must Die kicks things off with some impressive opening credits, which immediately also showcase the immersive heart pulsing score that runs throughout the entire film. When an intern violently smashes a laptop into graphic designer Vincent’s face, he decides not to press charges as the young guy clearly doesn’t remember what happened just minutes ago. But when Vincent’s project manager gruesomely stabs him multiple times in the hand, our victim starts to get suspicious.
Most of the time we try to discover along with Vincent what’s really going on and what triggers these attackers, as it seems they’re only out for him. But when a love interest gets introduced about halfway into the movie, things are starting to look a bit too much like Bird Box and less like the original idea it so promisingly started off with. It loses its own sense of identity and with that its focus as well. The film is also Mathieu Naert‘s very first feature film screenplay, and although it didn’t entirely work as a finished product, it does show a lot of promise from the creative team going forward. There’s some clearly bold choices and realistic human portrayals you only get to see in European films, which they should be very proud of.
Vincent Must Die loses steam at the halfway mark, but made sure not to waste any time showcasing the talent behind and in front of the camera. A disturbingly violent thriller that overstays its welcome due to a lack of personality, but makes up for it with its awkward situations and grounded performances.
Reviewed online (screener provided by publicist), May 19, 2023. Running time: 115 min.
PRODUCTION: An Arte France Cinéma, Bobi Lux, Capricci Production & Gapbusters production. Producers: Claire Bonnefoy & Thierry Lounas.
CREW: Director: Stéphan Castang. Writer: Mathieu Naert. Cinematography: Manuel Dacosse. Editing: Méloé Poillevé.
CAST: Karim Leklou, Vimala Pons, François Chattot, Karoline Rose Sun & Emmanuel Vérité.