Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Film Review: The Sunset Limited (2011)

The Sunset Limited (Review)
United States/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Prime Instant Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...should be treated as much more than a typical TV film."

Two men discuss their conflicting beliefs in a small apartment...

The Sunset Limited is a simple film on the surface. Black (Samuel L. Jackson) has stopped White (Tommy Lee Jones) from committing suicide. We start at the apartment where Black and White discuss the attempted suicide. This discussion transcends to a deeper conversation of religion, culture, and general philosophies. Going back and forth, the pair have a conversation -- that's really the best way to explain the story. This conversation leads to a thought-provoking ending; which would be expected considering the rest of the film was also contemplative.

Part of HBO Films, The Sunset Limited is a thought-provoking drama that should be treated as much more than a typical TV film. The frame story may be simple -- a conversation -- but the content is interesting and the execution is engaging. Although obviously I wasn't participating by talking to my television, (I'm not crazy, really) I was actively listening -- everything that was said placed a thought into my head. This philosophical conversation worked very well in keeping me engaged and even entertained. I liked the fast dialogue, despite it being a bit repetitive. (you know, when one character says something, then the other quickly repeats that final line of dialogue but in question form -- keeps the dialogue flowing but can become repetitive.) Also, although it does discuss many different ideas, it always reverts back to religion; it doesn't preach, but it does hinder the conversation from evolving.

A two man cast, Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones are superb. I especially enjoyed Samuel L. Jackson, a great storyteller and very charismatic. Tommy Lee Jones plays the hopeless pessimist very well, too. It's also shot very well; I liked the cinematography and camerawork, despite being limited to a single room. Writer Cormac McCarthy pens a very engaging script -- impressive since it relies solely on dialogue. Tommy Lee Jones also plays director and he plays it well.

Overall, I enjoyed The Sunset Limited. It has a few flaws, but it kept me hooked and it kept me thinking. The two fantastic performances help amplify the overall contemplative value of the film, as well. However, it's definitely not a film for everyone.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Language.

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