Bas Devos’ feature film debut Violet is an unforgettable movie.  There’s so much to admire about it: its cinematography, its patience, and Cesar De Sutter’s outstanding introverted performance.  However, Devos’ daring ambition to visualize inner conflict through minimal dialogue may be the film’s strongest achievement.

An innocent hang-out turns into tragedy when Jesse (De Sutter) and his friend Jonas are approached by two strangers.  An altercation occurs, resulting in Jonas being fatally stabbed and gasping his final breaths – Jesse witnesses it all.  Violet chronicles Jesse’s life after the murder.  Jesse, mortified and speechless, comprehends the event and the aftermatch in slow-motion.  He struggles to voice his emotions, but he also realizes he has no one else to relate to.

Violet is heavy on haunting imagery and subtle camera techniques, juxtaposing vivid visuals with Jesse’s stoic isolation.  Writer/director Devos allows meditative silence to wash over his film, and while a few of these sombre moments overstay their welcome, he succeeds in evoking feelings of soul-crushing grief, regret, and the search to rediscover self-assurance.

These themes of death and loneliness may spin Violet as a depressing time at the movies. It’s a bleak movie, sure, but Bas Devos’ Violet is also suggestive, psychedelic, and a true-blue original.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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