Review: Viena and the Fantomes

Dakota Fanning in “Viena and the Fantomes.”

Dir. Gerardo Naranjo. 96 minutes.

Viena (Dakota Fanning) is a roadie for a dysfunction-riven new wave band as they travel the U.S. from gig to gig. Shot in washed-out greys and browns reminiscent of Instagram, “Viena and the Fantomes” is tolerably stylish but seems to lack a final, catalyzing ingredient.

Imagine “Friday the 13th” minus Jason or “Star Wars” without the Force, and you have something like “Viena”: a film devoid of chemistry, warmth or tension. Despite abundant mumbling and profanity, there are few moments that feel truly organic or unscripted. It’s also unclear whether the central band, some of whose members are practically indistinguishable, is meant to be good or not. There are so many other rock movies that achieve something unique by colliding music with another element: “Control” uses mental illness, “Green Room” neo-Nazi gangs and “Velvet Goldmine” aliens. This is what “Viena” lacks: a murderer on the loose, a stolen briefcase containing a priceless object or some other device to give the characters something interesting to do.

Minus its frequent sex scenes, this film might have achieved a PG-13 rating and held some appeal to disaffected young music fans. As it is, “Viena and the Fantomes” suffers under the illusion that the vulgar, the formless and the unpleasant are more “real” than their opposites.