Monday, February 6, 2012

The Sunset Limited (2011)

Directed by: Tommy Lee Jones
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones

If you're wondering why you never saw The Sunset Limited in the theater, it's because it was never there. This 90 minute film produced and directed by by Tommy Lee Jones originally aired last year on HBO and went to DVD thereafter. The screenplay was written by Cormac McCarthy, who is known for writing powerful dramas such as No Country For Old Men (2007.)

The film consists of only two characters; an ex-con named Black (Jackson) and a professor named White (Jones.) After Black rescues White from a suicide attempt, the pair finds themselves in Black's New York-Ghetto Apartment, where the entire story takes place. The dialogue is then a debate between a "believer" and  a "non-believer" about life and death, but mainly about faith in God and the afterlife. After several attempts to leave, and the pleading from Black to hear him out, White stays to hear what Black has to say. Perhaps he feels a sense of obligation to the man who just saved his life, or maybe is is truly interested in what he has to say. Without spoiling it, the ending is far from what you would think.

The narrative leads the viewer to ask themselves many questions- number one being how they actually got to the apartment in the first place. This film would make an excellent stage play, and has all the makings of one; a simple set, minimal props, and lots of dialogue with only two characters. Jones, in the Golden Years of his life is a powerhouse when it comes to getting his dialogue across with conviction. Jackson, with his deep-authoritative voice and off-color style of humor, delivers with excellence in his role as Black.

Weather you are a believer or not is immaterial, this is a good film on just the acting alone. But then again, I would expect nothing less from a anything made by Tommy Lee Jones.

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