Vanishing Waves: Film Review

Vanishing Waves - P - 2013
Hauntingly dreamlike visuals compensate for narrative deficiencies in this erotically tinged science fiction film.

A scientist more than psychically bonds with a comatose young woman in this sexually explicit sci-fi tale.

Trippy in the best sense, Vanishing Waves adds a healthy dose of eroticism to its familiar sci-fi genre. This Lithuanian feature released by the aptly named Artsploitation Films recalls any number of films featuring lifelike dreamscapes, most recently Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending Inception. But few of those film’s protagonists enjoyed quite as much sex as does the main characters in Kristina Buoyzyte’s visually striking effort.

Research scientist Lukas (Marius Jampolskis) is participating in a series of experiments in which he—shades of Altered States—enters a sensory deprivation tank in an effort to see if he can make psychic contact with Aurora (Jurga Jutaite), a patient locked in a comatose state since a near-drowning incident.

Not only does he succeed in this goal, but he also finds himself engaged in a series of intensely torrid encounters with the beautiful young woman whose physical condition apparently hasn’t affected her libido. Understandably flustered, Lukas fails to bring these episodes to his fellow scientists’ attention. Instead, he repeatedly goes back for more, and becomes obsessed with tracking her down and rescuing her from what he perceives as imminent death.

Featuring a plethora of soft-core sex scenes possessing a dreamlike, surreal quality—the orgy sequence puts the one in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut to shame—the film is ultimately more impressive for its imaginative visuals and ambient soundtrack than its repetitive, slack narrative and stilted dialogue. Another drawback is the performance by Jampolskis, whose character comes across as less emotionally repressed than near comatose himself.

Nonetheless, Vanishing Waves—a multiple prize winner at last year’s Fantastic Fest--exerts a haunting, hallucinatory pull that effectively makes the viewer feel as if he’s entered a dreamlike state himself. Don’t be surprised if interest in sensory deprivation tanks suddenly takes an upswing.

Opened March 15 (Artsploitation Films)

Production: Acajou Films, Tremora

Cast: Jurga Jutaite, Marius Jampolskis, Brice Fournier, Sharunas Bartas, Martina Jablonskyte, Frederick Andrau

Director: Kristina Buozyte

Screenwriters: Kristina Buozyte, Bruno Samper

Creative director: Bruno Samper

Producer: leva Norviliene

Director of photography: Feliksas Abrukauskas

Editor: Suzanne Fenn

Composer: Peter von Poehl

Not rated, 124 min