Day 3 at VIFF 2014 – An eco-thriller from Vietnam (Nuoc 2030) and a moving documentary from Romania (Waiting For August)!
VIFF 2014: Nuoc 2030
Awkward – incredibly awkward…
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director: Nquyen-vo Nghiem-Minh
Featuring: Quynh Hoa, Quy Binh, Thach Kim Long, Hoang Tran Minh
Production Company: Saigon Media
In Vietnamese with English Subtitles
Reviewed By Alessandro Hutt
While Nuoc 2030 fails the language and structure of cinema in many ways, I’m willing to let it slide. Vietnam does not have an established or stable film industry so it’s natural to expect some shortfalls. That was clear with another Vietnamese film Lost In Paradise, which is also the first widely known gay film from the country. While more capable in terms of production values, Nuoc 2030 still falls short in plot and characters.
It’s 2030 and due to the causes of global warming Vietnam is rapidly falling below sea level. The majority of the livable land is now submerged, driving people to live in stilted huts. Thi (Kim Long Thach) and Sao (Quynh Hoa) are a married couple who live off the fishing industry. One day Thi’s dead body turns up in connection with rumours pointing to a corporation that experiments with salt water plant life. In addition, one of the scientists (Quy Binh) seems to recognize Sao…
You can tell right off the bat that the plot/story/characters are all half baked. There are holes in all of them and narrative sense is lost fairly early. The love triangle is also very groan inducing. I literally face palmed during the climax. The eco terrorism is also poorly explained, and is often side tracked for the love story.
But there are also positives to it. The acting is serviceable; Quynh Hoa as Sao is the standout, thought at times she doesn’t seem quite sure which is the proper emotion for the situation. The film is very well shot – its gives us a complete idea of how big and isolated this version of Vietnam is. It also refrains from being too didactic when speaking of global warming and evil corporations. Yes it is a bit heavy handed but it doesn’t beat you over the head.
So why am I giving this film a “Watch” instead of a “Skip”? Despite all it’s issues it’s not a boring movie, and the mystery does keep you mildly interested. In addition, it’s important to support films like these so there can be more. But by all means this is not a must-see film.