Acapulco’s picturesque magnificence and dirty desperation converge in writer-director Michel Franco’s psychological thriller “Sunset.” Franco groups up once more right here with Tim Roth who performs Neil Bennett, an inheritor to a United Kingdom meatpacking fortune on trip together with his sister, Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and household. The cinematographer Yves Cape delivers a gradual stream of extensive photographs and abstract-leaning frames that consistently compel the viewer to prioritize the macro over the micro.
Franco chooses to depict Acapulco from the rich white foreigner’s standpoint, through which the lives of brown locals — the villains and Neil’s lovely lover Berenice (Iazua Larios) alike — go unexamined. But Franco manages to wag a not-too-subtle finger at viewers, reminding them to verify their assumptions about Neil whereas on the similar time retaining the raison d’être of that essential character totally hidden. The consequence: “Sunset” lands extra like a one-note thought train than a totally fleshed out story.
Roth’s supply isn’t the issue right here; neither is the movie’s slow-burn pacing nor its absence of rating. Slightly, the script feels skinny and ill-conceived in a movie that adheres noticeably to the floor. Neil is nothing if not temporary — the variety of traces he has may add as much as a paragraph in all the movie. We will barely get have a look at him; his first close-up doesn’t seem till almost midway via the movie.
In the end what “Sunset” is most profitable at revealing to us is the look of Acapulco itself. By the tip, Cape has captured how the solar strikes this spot of Pacific Coast in a dozen other ways. If solely the identical quantity of sunshine had been shed on any of the characters. With out that, an Acapulco sunburn is more likely to elicit extra feeling than “Sunset” does.
Rated R for graphic violence, sexual content material. Operating time: 1 hour 23 minutes. In theaters.