Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Sunset Limited

I just finished part two of our Samuel L. Jackson double feature, beginning with MOTHER AND CHILD, and ending with the premiere of THE SUNSET LIMITED on HBO. The first film was very good, and certainly worth your time, but the second film deserves a slightly longer mention. Based on a play by Cormac McCarthy, THE SUNSET LIMITED ponders the existence of God, the state of humanity, and other weighty topics, as discussed between Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones. Cormac's dialogue doesn't just crackle, it detonates as it's delivered by these infinitely talented and experienced actors, each delivering tour de force performances. Jones plays a tired old professor, who attempts to commit suicide, and Jackson an ex-con who intercepts him at the last second. However, we see nothing of this event, only them talking about it in Jackson's dingy New York City apartment, right after the incident. Jackson, a jail-house convert, diligently shares his Christian faith with Jones, but Jones, who is much to intelligent for his own good, argues vehemently for his own pessimistic world view. The film itself doesn't seem to take sides, letting each man win and lose an argument or two. I certainly felt the pain and desperate persistence in Jackson as he battled for this man's life and soul, but at the same time I empathized with Jones' negative views on the nature of man and his dismal outlook on the future. Much like THE ROAD and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, this film left me thinking after the credits rolled, and to me, that's a sign of a good film, or at least a well written one. If you have HBO, you should definitely check it out. Might be a while before I see a better film in 2011.