Director: JC Andreu
It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind
JC Andreu’s film Vagabond is a brilliantly made suspense thriller that plays on the fear of losing identity in a strange country.
The movie tells the journey of Vincent. He is a French international student who comes to the US for his studies. As his plane lands, he realises that he cannot seem to find his passport, after a moment of fear and self doubts, he suddenly finds it on himself. This anxiety stays with him as he goes to be processed through border control. However, he is still nervous and very meekly approaches the exit when the customs officer begins questioning . Despite Vincent repeatedly telling about his city Bordeaux and country France, the border control officer can’t find any country that matches his passport. Vincent seems to come from a place that does not exist on the map. As he is taken away for further interrogation, the plot thickens and heightens the suspense. Eventually, he learns that things are not always what they seem and the mystery unfolds gradually, in front of him.
The movie is a brilliant thriller. From the beginning it holds the mystery tightly and plays on it.
In the movie, Andreu has shown the complexity and absurdity of humankind and its existence. Vincent has high anxiety and he often gets shrouded in self doubts. Through this movie, the director invites his viewer to an endless and even hopeless voyage through an open sea, only to find his character shipwrecked on an island where no one is open to his identity and nationality. The character is estranged and locked at the corner. This estrangement borders on despair and hopelessness.
The movie shows the world’s decay and how man is caught inside the whirlpool. Vincent goes through the predicament of the twenty-first century, in seemingly desolate land which is not welcoming of him. The grand narratives of Vincent’s life, i.e. his student life in the US, begins to crumble down to an ultimate sense of meaninglessness. He is kept in a place where everything seems sterile, there is no more nature.
The director says, “ I make it my duty to bring this fantasy to the light, by creating high concept stories that deal with a world very similar to ours, but with an element of magic added. It is a way to retrospect and see the world through a different, and relevant, lens.”, and there is no doubt that he has showcased all that through his film.
The cast has done a great job to portray the trials and denials and authoritative natures of the characters. Isaac Liu plays the role of Vincent, and since the first frame he has shown his mettle . His scene paves the way for the understanding of the character. Alexandra Milewich’s border control officer is strong, determined and bold.
The movie has a 12 mins run, but it is commendable how JC Andreu has shown every aspect of his theme in that short time.