Coming to theatres from writer/director Michel Franco and Bleecker Street comes the story of leaving life and family for a little SUNDOWN.
Neil (Tim Roth) is enjoying drinks and sun in Acapulco with family when they receive terrible news from home. Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg), Alexa (Albertine McMillan) and Colin (Samuel Bottomley) pack up and head to the airport. Neil realizes he can not find his passport and has to return to the hotel while the others fly ahead of him.
But he does not return to the hotel, instead Neil finds a hotel and finds a chair on the beach – and literally drinks the days away. On the phone he tells Alice everything is being done to get him home and that buys him time. To do what?
He meets shop owner Bernice (Iazua Larios) and they spend their days together just sunning and drinking. Until Alice shows up on the beach demanding to know what Neil has been doing and why. He makes it clear that he has checked out of her life including asking family lawyer Richard (Henry Goodman), the family and everything else – he just wants to be left alone.
Being left alone is going to cost everybody!
Roth as Neil is a man who clearly has checked out of everything. Nothing seems to phase him or cause great distress. He spends his time trying to keep the world at bay and even when it comes calling, he walks away with ease. Roth’s character is full of secrets but as they begin to rise to the surface, we get a consistent performance, and I would expect nothing less.
Gainsbourg as Alice can not understand the way Neil is behaving. She just wants to get him home and realizing he has his own plans, does everything possible to get their life right for her own family. Goodman as Richard is clear about the family and nothing surprises him, well maybe almost nothing surprises him. This lawyer is all about signing and making the stipulations quite clear.
Larios as Bernice is interested in Neil and does not ask to many questions about his life. She enjoys the sun, a few drinks and just being with him. McMillan and Bottomley are relatives that just do not understand, they want to, they just see a man who does not seem to care.
Bleecker Street is a New York City film company that has brought outstanding films to the public. Their library includes TRUMBO, DENIAL, THE LOST CITY OF Z, BEIRUT, HOTEL MUMBAI, ORDINARY LOVE and THE ROADS NOT TAKEN. For more information on the titles from Bleeker Street please visit www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com.
SUNDOWN is a slow-paced film that asks questions and demands patience to get the answers. When Alice asks the question, “what the f@#k is wrong with you?”, we are already ahead of her. Roth’s Neil does not give up anything and that is probably because the character does not think he has to – for any reason.
None of us could possibly imagine the decisions that this character makes, and irritation easily follows until there is the proverbial ‘oh, I see’ or ‘wow, okay’ follows. There is also irritation in the thought of ‘well, must be nice to sit in a chair all day drinking letting the water wash over your feet’ – now back to irritation no matter what Neil’s reasonings.
So, SUNDOWN just takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride of wanting to understand Neil and then not caring since he does not care but we still want answers. When it all becomes clear, then the process of deciding about Neil comes into play and so does the conversation with others about the film. Yes, it is one to be talked about!
It is about family, secrets, mystery’s, realities and how far will a family go to change someone who does not want to be changed.
In the end – his path is his own!