‘Sundown’ Review: Stuck in Shallow Waters in Acapulco

Acapulco’s picturesque beauty and dusty despair converge in writer-director Michel Franco’s psychological thriller “Sundown”. Franco teamed up here again with Tim Roth, who plays Neil Bennett, an heir to a UK-packed fortune on vacation with his sister, Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and family. Cinematographer Yves Cape offers a wide range of shots and steady abstract framing, constantly forcing viewers to prioritize macros over micro.

Franco chooses to portray Acapulco from the perspective of a wealthy white expatriate, in which the lives of brown-skinned locals – the villains and Neil’s beautiful lover Berenice (Iazua Larios) – are both not discovered. However, Franco manages to wave a not-so-subtle finger at the viewer, prompting them to double-check their assumptions about Neil while at the same time keeping the protagonist’s secret completely hidden. The result: “Sundown” is more of a single-note thinking exercise than a complete story.

Roth delivery is not the problem here; neither the slow pacing of the movie nor the lack of score. Instead, the script feels thin and unsightly in a movie that sticks to the surface noticeably. Neil is nothing if not succinct – the number of lines he has can amount to one paragraph in an entire movie. We can barely get a good look at him; His first close-up doesn’t appear until almost halfway through the film.

In the end, what “Sundown” most successfully revealed to us was the appearance of Acapulco himself. Ultimately, the Cape captured how the sun hits this point of the Pacific Coast in a dozen different ways. If only the same amount of light hit any character. Without that, Acapulco sunburn is likely to cause more sensations than “Sundown”.

Rated R for violent, sexually explicit content. Running time: 1 hour 23 minutes. In the theater.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/movies/sundown-review.html ‘Sundown’ Review: Stuck in Shallow Waters in Acapulco

Fry Electronics Team

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