Sydney Film Festival Review: Vincent (France, 2015)



The gifted Thomas Salvador directs and stars in Vincent (2014), a French film that tells the story of a man named Vincent who develops extraordinary superpowers when he comes in contact with water. With his recently discovered ability, Vincent spends much of his time in the water, taking in the awe and wonder that comes with developing strength, agility, and reflexes ten times the usual humans capacity. He soon meets Lucie (Vimala Pons) and falls in love with her, confiding in her his true identity. But after displaying his powers publicly, he is forced to flee, using his superpowers to outrun the police.

It might paint itself as your typical superhero film, but Vincent is anything but. Instead of cliche storylines that are often aligned with the superhero genre, Vincent instead opts to portray a realistic, down-to-earth, and raw portrayal of a man with unique abilities. The focus is not necessarily on how the character is prosecuted, rather, it depicts a story of a simple man doing simple things, but with extraordinary powers. The film plays on the ordinary, making for some hilarious moments – especially at points in public where Vincent randomly throws a bucket of water over his head, as if it’s no big deal.

Usually, I’d argue that love stories cheapen clever storylines. But that’s not what occurs in Vincent. We are gifted with a glimpse into the love between Vincent and Lucie, a love that could make any heart of stone crack. There is little dialogue in the film, but this works in its favour. Instead of dialogue, we must interpret the silent glances between the two characters, illustrating just how strong these two actors are.

Instead of bursting with special effects, Thomas Salvador chooses to use them in a subtle way, demonstrating how Vincent’s power works in the real world, and also, how the real world perceives Vincent. This subtlety plays with the films strengths, creating a raw, sensitive and charming film. Though the pacing was a little off, and it didn’t follow a typical narrative structure, this cannot always be perceived as a bad thing. Salvador recreates the world of film, producing a microcosmic screenshot into the life of a bizarre man named Vincent.

What happens to Vincent – we will never know. But unlike many audience members that I passed, complaining of its ambiguous nature, I do not mind. Vincent is still within my mind, swimming in rivers and erratically pouring buckets of water on his head. Wherever he is, I hope he’s swimming. That a character from a film can remain in my head and make me seriously concerned for his wellbeing says a lot about Vincent. It will pull at your heart-strings. As you sit next to the person that you love in the cinema, you’ll go to hold their hand incessantly. It will make you laugh hysterically. You might even shed a tear or seven. What I would do to go back a few hours and watch this film for the first time, falling in love all over again.


Running Time: 77 minutes



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