The Vessel (2016) Poster


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Every detail counts
ehzimmerman18 September 2016
This film was full of surprises, all the way to the ending (no spoilers here). The storytelling is masterful, making events unfold organically; no visual detail is wasted; the loose ends tie up in unexpected ways. The four main characters are all well acted and a pleasure to watch. Martin Sheen's nuanced portrayal of the village priest makes the character feel complex and believably human, a flawed good man. I think two of the things I liked best about this film were the setting and the ensemble cast. Both the setting (a seaside village in Puerto Rico), and the ensemble's role as the entire small population of the village -- both function critically as "main characters" influencing the story. For a setting-as-character analogy, think how "Niagara"'s setting figures into its plot. The villagers as a group function almost with a "hive mind" spreading gossip instantaneously and acting as a kind of emotionally synchronized swarm. See this film if you are prepared to deal with deeper questions about human suffering and redemption. (If you loved "Sausage Party" then this film probably isn't for you).
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Art house film that raises serious religious questions
gmock-3312330 September 2016
Full disclosure ... This is my first IMDb review. I'm just trying to do my part to help promote this little known film. I attend the same church as the parents of the director, but I do not know them.

If you like all the recent superhero flicks, or you like Michael Bay films, then this movie is not for you. This movie causes you to feel sadness in a way that is painful, yet worthwhile. There are many moments of silence, broken only by the sounds of the sea. The key religious question is: Why do bad things happen to good people? This movie explores that question, yet does not beat you over the head with any answers. If this seems appealing to you, then please see this film, and send your friends to see it too.
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A technical marvel for a freshman director.
MartinHafer18 January 2017
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 camera-work 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.

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".
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Small budget, big film
sergelamarche26 December 2017
The small budget would have made this film proper for TV only, but the acting, the setting, the story and the effects were all there to make this lift off. The story is very contrary to expected. We'd think some magic would happen with some special power but the magic is only in what people believes, which could be dark, even black, or could be light and hopeful. That the film got itself so good while being so ordinary is as if it had a bit of god in it. Yes, it's believable. Kudos to all for making this.
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What Do I Think?
Foutainoflife3 January 2019
Well, to start off I'll simply say that I am not one to delve into the theological or religious aspect of this film. I think that one should develop their opinions based on what they see and feel while immersed in the movie.

This film is about a seaside town that was devastated when a tidal wave struck. The local school took the brunt of the impact and almost every child lost their life after being swept back out to the ocean. Right away you understand that this film is going to be full of emotion.

Ten years after the incident the people in this town remain lost to their sorrow. The have not had any births and most of the younger people have left the village. The women still dress in black and have the belief that any woman who wears color is disrespectful and have turned their back on the incident.

The local priest came to the town a few months before the accident but he stayed, remained faithful and even tried to encourage the people to rebuild the school (this idea only led to a brick being thrown into a window of either the church or his residence.) Still he stayed hoping to help the community heal.

The main focus of the film is Leo. He never left, choosing to stay with his mother whose mental state took a hit after her other child lost his life during the incident. Leo has an accident and was considered to been dead by drowning only to have come back to life three hours later. Leo seems changed and he decides to build a vessel (a boat) from the scraps he finds at the school. The townsfolk see Leo's death/resurrection as a miracle and this sets up the rest of the film.

The setting and tone of this film fits perfectly for the subject. It feels tired, sad and haunted by the melodic sounds of the waves crashing against the shoreline. The acting was on point as well. There wasn't a whole lot of dialogue and I think it would have benefited greatly to have learned more about the lost children and their families.

This is a heavy movie but a great look into the lingering aftermath of tragedy and the attempts to move forward. It was a nice watch.
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Pretentious pseudo-religious twaddle
nigepitz29 December 2019
I've have been more entertained washing lettuce and filming it drying would have been a more fulfilling movie experience. This is what you get when you let a monkey play with a typewriter. Martin Sheen looked suitably embarrassed delivering some of the lines.
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See it.
scott-16573 February 2019
A beautiful and powerful story, in my opinion. Wonderfully acted, beautifully photographed, and evokes moods and feelings whether one is religious or not. A nice break from the American shoot 'em ups.
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superficial nothing new, waste of time
iuliusaugustus17 February 2019
I want my time back

Tsunami, children, could not be more superficial

probably most of the 7 reviews written here are from cast people
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Dull and depressing
peejaydevlin23 February 2020
Gave up after 40 minutes. Slow storyline with dull and depressing commentary interspersed by equally dull and depressing 'plot'.
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Courage in the face of Hope.
writenamehere30 April 2020
This is film is about the role of the artist in a community during a period of collective trauma, and the artist's relationship to religion and a basic level of politics. It doesn't go into great detail about anything, it just states positions. This is what the film does best. There are films that take the stated positions and go a lot further, but it isn't possible to squash everything into one short film.

I have not seen anyone attempt this task quite so openly before. Usually when people try this they get into adversarial and absolute conflicts. It's good this film avoided that.

Visually and conceptually there is everything to recommend The Vessel. I watched the English version, and immediately wished I was listening to Spanish. English just doesn't quite work for the style of communication, so if you have the option, use Spanish.
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Not worth watching
andreas-423-33792930 December 2019
The story could have been "told" in 15min. We not worth watching.
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