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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Sundown (2021)

So very glad I went into this one cold, without so much of a sniff of a plot or trailer. Tim Roth brought me to it. Also starring Charlotte Gainsbourgh and written and directed by Michael Franco. This was a sublime treat from the minute it opened.

When news of a family tragedy reaches Neil (Roth), Alice (Gainsbourgh), Alexa and Colin on their idyllic south American holiday, the group are forced to cut short their stay and return home. That is, the three of them that haven't lost their passports do. Neil is unable to fly and promises to the rest he will go back to their hotel, pick up his forgotten passport and be on the next flight home.

Franco's immense skill here is telling the story of a well performed and eventually well-rounded character, out of synch, doing things you would not expect them to do in a time of crisis. Very little is given up early on, forcing the viewer to ask their own questions as the narrative is not being fed to them, piece-meal. To say the plot thickens would be an understatement, but the drip-fed plot flirts with you as you watch, unwilling to give ups its secrets all at once.

Some may find this frustrating but there are clues throughout as to what is going on why the events occur, even so far as to the reasons for Neil's somewhat unusual behaviour.

This is criminally short, barely over an hour if you don't count the closing credits, as all the best films are, leaving you wanting just a little more. There are loose ends, one especially interesting in Franco's choice to allow it, and the closure whilst definite, is abrupt.

Highly recommended.


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