The Sunset Limited

The Sunset Limited is a unique movie that is based off a unique style of writing as well. The story manages to hold a pretty unbiased view on a debate between an atheist and a believer. The movie is layered to the point where multiple viewings offer up a different perspective with each subsequent viewing. The powerful performances between Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson deliver a movie that’ll resonate strongly with viewers long after the end credits have finished.

The Sunset Limited has been out for little over a year now but I wanted to highlight it because it’s one of the few movies that has resonated with for me so long. I remember watching it when it first aired on HBO with my dad. By the end we just sat in silence while the credits rolled and let the movie sink in. I couldn’t stop thinking about the movie for weeks to come and eventually ended up reading the novel it was based off of. It was originally written by Cormac McCarthy who is also known for writing, No Country for Old Men, and The Road.

The simplified plot of the movie is that after a suicidal attempt of one man, White (listed as such), Black (listed as such), takes White into his house to take care of him. White is an atheist who has seen fit to take his own life. Black is a devoted Christian who tries to live life to the best of his abilities. Black feels obligated to take care of White and help him back on his feet. The movie is a back and forth debate on the other’s personal views. The thing I like the most about this is that it never feels like either side is trying to push their personal belief on the other. The only motive for Black is to prevent White from committing suicide, and that’s it. It gives the movie a sense of unbiased fairness to each side, which allows people no matter their religious belief to see from outside their perspective.

Much like with Lost in Translation, this movie is another one that I can watch at different points of time and pick up on different aspects of the movie to learn from. Even though the movie has only been out for a year I still find myself rewatching it and finding something new, or some different layer to the movie that I hadn’t caught before. It’s also nice that there are more than one ways to interpret this movie.

The novel it’s based off of was written in, “dramatic form,’ and reads more like a play than a book. This is evident once you find out that the movie takes place all in one room of Black’s apartment. Even with the limited setting the movie is still a feature length, running around 91 minutes, which seems like it would drag on but it doesn’t. The dialogue is so moving and sharp that I found myself hanging off of each word waiting for them to continue. The conversations are so thought provoking that regardless of religious stance, I found myself rooting for both sides.

The cast is entirely made up of Tommy Lee Jones as White, and Samuel L. Jackson as Black. These two are another reason the conversations are so captivating. Jackson brings an amazingly genuine character as the religious man. He acts very inviting and brings to life a character that is solidified in their beliefs but still able to hold an open mind. Jones’ character is very timid and non conformational but has a very eloquent manner in his speech, something that Black often comments on.. Jones does a fantastic job of portraying this character. Even though majority of Jones’ time on screen is spent being passive he has an amazing and powerful moment towards the end. I still get shivers thinking about it and it’s an amazing scene to see. The combination of the two creates two amazing characters that I couldn’t help but want to listen to them for more than the movie’s length. It’s amazing the way the two play off each other from opposing stances.

The Sunset Limited is a unique movie that is based off a unique style of writing as well. The story manages to hold a pretty unbiased view on a debate between an atheist and a believer. The movie is layered to the point where multiple viewings offer up a different perspective with each subsequent viewing. The powerful performances between Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson deliver a movie that’ll resonate strongly with viewers long after the end credits have finished.

Interested in writing reviews or news posts for Thinking Cinematic? Contact me at rrsolis@me.com! You can also send your guest reviews there too!

Connect with me at:
Twitter: @Treyrs20o9
Twitter: @Think_Cinematic 

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