SUNDOWN gets 6/10 Vacation from life

Directed by Michel Franco

Starring Tim Roth, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Iazua Larios


This very dull, dry, and procedural character study could have lifted more if it had a bit more depth to it, or a bit more flourish, or a bit more humour. But as it is, this well-intended film about the utmost apathy a person can feel seems to have an utmost apathy of its own.

A financially well-off family are on a relaxing holiday in Mexico, when suddenly the mother (Charlotte Gainsbourg) gets a call about her mother’s passing. Teary-eyed, she puts an end to the vacation and tries getting the family back home, but the father (Tim Roth) must stay behind, as he claims he’s misplaced his passport. But he doesn’t make much of a move to find it and get on the next plane. Instead, he spends some time at the beach, drinking and relaxing, and starting up a bit of companionship with a younger woman (Iazua Larios).

He’s clearly every grieving woman’s unideal husband. There’s something amusing in how much of a passive asshole this character is, but it could have been played up for more depth, or at least more laughs. Instead, it just plays it out in such a serious tone. The film feels like it goes from one plot-point to another and it gets tedious from how standard and passive it is.

There are some shocks here and there with certain plot-points, but it alternately doesn’t add up to much. It does sort of feel like the film is a bit of a joke and that it’s really digging into a horrendous jokey aspect of our humanity where we find ourselves too caught up in ourselves to care about others. But the film doesn’t spend much of its 85 minute run-time (that feels far longer) to delve further into this character study, it all just ultimately seems surface level.

Tim Roth is actually quite the perfect casting for such a character, he does a good job with his lack of emotions and his lack of caring, making him someone who’s somewhat sleepwalking through it all in a compulsive state.

More work put into the ‘why’ of the film would have made it work better. There’s certainly something being said in such a film, but it could’ve been squished down into a short film of about a third of the time. There’s intrigue in the central character, but boredom in the film itself, as Sundown feels less like a film and more like a series of events.


Comments are closed.