I have to drive down to Compton again and am therefore unable to share expansive reactions to Michel Franco‘s Sundown, but it’s easily the most interesting (or do I mean fascinating?) film of 2022 so far.
It’s basically a drop-out movie like Michelangelo Antonioni‘s The Passenger (’75), but I wish it had less plot, which is to say less motivational explanation. I was wishing it would just devote itself to the idea of pissing off and nihilistically doing whatever the hell. But it’s not, and that, for me, is a slight problem.
It’s about Neil (Tim Roth), a wealthy co-heir to
￼ a pig-slaughtering business who’s vacationing in Acapulco with his sister Allison (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her two teenage children.
Allison and the kids pack and leave when news comes that she and Neil’s mother has died. But Neil decides against going — he lies that his passport is missing, and returns to Acapulco, and then checks into a shitty little hotel. And that’s it, at least for a while. Neil drinks a lot of beer, finds a somewhat older girlfriend (Iazua Larios), hangs out and basically does jack shit.
From Anthony Lane’s New Yorker review: “Here, we realize, is that most scandalous of creatures: the human who wants nothing. I’ve seen enough films about people who rush to make the most of their mortal span, ticking off bucket lists and reaping rosebuds while they may, so it’s a relief to come across Neil, the lolling foe of the upbeat. The title of the movie doesn’t do him justice. It should be called ‘The Fuck-it List.'”