The Arrival of Wang - on DVD

Sunday, 11 November 2012 12:34
Posted in Cult Movies on DVD
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The Arrival of Wang on DVDOut of the blue, Gaia, a Chinese-language interpreter is offered a big payday for an unspecifed job. She accepts and is whisked away from her home in Rome by some shady government types, but only after she agrees to don a blindfold. They arrive at a top secret base, and march downstairs to a concrete vault shrouded by darkness. Gaia (Francesca Cuttica) is not permitted to see the face of the person she is going to interpret.

Having put some seemingly innocent questions to her hidden subject, Gaia interrupts the process, demanding to see the person she is speaking to, in order to facilitate the process. Her new employer, Mr Curti (Ennio Fantastichini – “Loose Cannons”), is under extreme pressure and grudgingly agrees. The lights go on, and Wang is revealed to be an extra terrestrial being strapped to a chair. Who is he, and why is he here?

This movie is quite reminiscent of a Tales from the Darkside episode I reviewed a while back called ‘The Impressionist’, whereby a mimic is hired by the government to fathom out an alien visitor. “Wang” takes the idea further by exploring the concepts of human rights, racism and trust. Curti grows increasingly desperate and aggressive in his questioning of the alien, insulting his guest and refusing to accept his innocent answers. Gaia is shocked and disgusted by the treatment of the visitor from another planet.

The film is at its strongest when the three-way interaction between the interrogator, the interpreter and the captive intensifies, and the threat of a less civilised approach looms. Cuttica is solid as the regular Jo who has been caught off guard and roped into something she detests. Fantastichini is overbearing and intimidating, and makes the viewer sweat as much as Wang!

Wang himself is an impressive creation. Whilst the CGI used to represent him is a little less convincing (in terms of lighting and compositing) than that seen in top-notch genre fare such as “District 9”, the expressive facial and limb animation capably makes up for it. He recoils from Curti, and visibly suffers from his stressful predicament. The character design is quite inventive, going beyond the standard ‘grey’ alien template rolled out elsewhere.

The film spends most of its time in the austere interrogation room but just about manages to keep the momentum going, for example by throwing in the odd flashback to Wang’s capture for the sake of variety. The electronic soundtrack by Aldo De Scalzi and Pivio helps to establish some much-needed atmosphere.

Unfortunately the ending is a bit of a letdown, firstly because the lead-up to it suddenly puts the breaks on the action, and secondly, some new characters introduced at the eleventh hour are played by some seriously wooden actors who deliver some momentous lines with all the weight of a feather. The credibility of the entire movie threatens to come crumbling down.

“Wang” is not a bad film, neither is it a great one. Fans of The X-Files and Area 51-related subject matter should enjoy it, and I only wish men behind it, Antonio and Marco Manetti, had spent a little more time and resources on the meat of the production and come up with a more interesting ending.

The DVD includes the following special features:

  • FrightFest 2012 interview with the Manetti Brothers and Francesca Cuttica
  • aking of/Behind the scenes featurette
  • “Wang” – brief animated guide to the development of the Wang character
  • Barry Wang – daft but clever video cutting clips of Wang to the Barry White tune “You are the First, the Last, My Everything”
  • Stereo and 5.1 audio options
  • English subtitles

 

“The Arrival of Wang" (2011) is out now, courtesy of Saffron Hill Films. The main feature has a running time of 82 mins approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £14.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Sunday, 11 November 2012 12:39

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