Film Review: Sundown | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, October 6th, 2022  


Studio: Common Ground Pictures
Director: Michel Franco

Jan 29, 2022 Web Exclusive
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Neil’s mother has died. His sister is screaming and swearing at him. And before long, he’ll spend a night in a Mexican prison. His reaction? Nonchalantly asking if it’s time for lunch. Yes, Tim Roth’s blasé performance in a movie about mounting misfortunes is a masterclass in restraint. Rarely has an actor seemingly done so little to so successfully captivate audiences. That’s because he’s holding back multitudes, which becomes painfully apparent after one of the most effective movie plot twists in recent memory.

Setting such successes aside for a moment, you should know that Sundown is as demanding as it is effective and moving. To delve further into its plot here would only spoil a movie that hinges on both ambiguous unpredictability, with menace lurking behind each languid heatwave of its seemingly idyllic setting. But Charlotte Gainsbourg, who plays Neil’s anguished sister, gives as gripping a performance as any on the call sheet with only a fraction of the screen time. At the opposite end of the spectrum rests Iazua Larios, who breathes breezy authenticity into Bernice, a local bodega employee who draws Neil out of his sleep walking purgatory after he and his sister, along with her children, part ways during a fateful Acapulco vacation.

Plenty of moviegoers will be frustrated by the film’s glacial pace and ambiguous plot that controversial writer-director Michel Franco brings to Sundown, not to mention his characterization of Roth’s defiantly aloof Neil. But curious audiences keen for a singular story will be hooked by the director and star’s slow burn inventiveness. Few films take a premise and character that seems so unappealing on paper and make them engrossing onscreen. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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