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#TIFF21 Review: Sundown (Special Presentations)

September 16, 2021

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

Neil Bennett (Tim Roth) is a wealthy Englishman vacationing at a resort in Acapulco, Mexico with his sister Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and her two kids Colin (Samuel Bottomley) and Alexa (Albertine Kotting McMillan). Their holiday gets cut short when Alice receives a phone call informing them of a death in the family, and that they have to return to London. But instead of getting on the plane, Neil pretends to have lost his passport at the airport and stays behind, checking himself into a hotel and taking up with a local woman (Iazua Larios).

Written and directed by Michel Franco, who was at the festival last year with New Order, Sundown is another movie that shows the dark underbelly of Mexico colliding with the wealthy tourist side. I don’t think the characters are that well fleshed out, and the film does drag a bit despite only running for around eighty minutes, unfolding through languid long takes.

But Roth carries Sundown with a decent, closed off performance that keeps us guessing as to why he suddenly ran out on his family, and there is enough intrigue as to where the story is going to keep us watching. This is one of those movies where not much happens until things start happening all at once, and Franco delivers some interesting twists in the second half.

Public Screenings:

Sunday, September 12th – 7:30 PM at Scotiabank Theatre

Monday, September 13th – 3:00 PM at digital TIFF Bell Lightbox (Canada)

Friday, September 17th – 5:00 PM at digital TIFF Bell Lightbox (Canada)

The 2021 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 9th to 18th.

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