Vinyl is a very realistic film in its simplicity; a relaxed “fly on the wall” tale of a visitor dropped in the middle of a cracked relationship. Sure, it’s got its dramatic moments, but they’re more of how drama happens in real life; life-changing moments and revelations can occur, but usually not with the bombast Hollywood employs.
Luis (Luis Echegaray) and Marta (Gillian Visco) are interrupted in their day-to-day relationship squabbles when Luis’s friend Tom (Tom Sawyer) arrives in town. While Luis and Tom resume their old friendship, Marta finds herself annoyed with the new distraction, especially when Luis leaves town for the weekend. Distraught and lonely after a friend cancels their evening’s plans, Marta begrudgingly asks Tom if he’d like to join her instead. The two then embark on an adventure in New York City, discussing their lives and outlooks on the future, becoming closer friends as the time passes.
Shot on a Flip Ultra HD cam over 5 days, Vinyl is hardly as amateur-looking as you can imagine it could’ve been. The intimacy such a small camera allows, both between the performers and when out shooting in New York City, truly comes across and sets a nice tone for the film. The film has that quick edit look that so many indie digital features have nowadays, and that does play Hell from time to time with the dreaded “crossing the line” issue in some edit sequences, but at the same time, if you’re not looking for it, you probably won’t notice it that much.
The one area where the film does suffer a bit, however, is the audio. There are more than a few moments in the film where the person closest to the camera is perfectly audible and clear, but the person slightly farther away is a strain to follow. Most often that person is Tom, who is soft-spoken in the film to begin with, and that much more subtle when filming moves outdoors. Some more massaging in the sound mix would hopefully help this issue out.
Overall, Vinyl is a straightforward affair that doesn’t overly complicate itself. It’s a nice groove that you can follow, and it leaves the histrionics to the Hollywood melodramas. This is the type of story that could actually happen, and maybe you know somebody who went through something similar. That said, it’s about as truthful and pleasant as going through the experience of a strained relationship with that urge to connect with anyone who will listen, so if it hits a little too painfully close to home, you may want to give yourself a bigger break from reality than this film allows.
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