Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' First Official Look: Jared Leto As The Joker In 'Suicide Squad' First Official Look: Jared Leto As The Joker In 'Suicide Squad' Joss Whedon Says He Earned More Making 'Dr. Horrible' Than 'The Avengers,' Weighs In On Marvel Vs. DC Joss Whedon Says He Earned More Making 'Dr. Horrible' Than 'The Avengers,' Weighs In On Marvel Vs. DC Tom Hardy Met Mel Gibson And Made Him A Bracelet, Says Michael Fassbender Was "The Sh*t" In School Tom Hardy Met Mel Gibson And Made Him A Bracelet, Says Michael Fassbender Was "The Sh*t" In School Native Actors Walk Off Set Of Adam Sandler's 'Ridiculous 6' Over Disrespectful, Insulting Script Native Actors Walk Off Set Of Adam Sandler's 'Ridiculous 6' Over Disrespectful, Insulting Script Watch: Johnny Depp Rages As Whitey Bulger In First Trailer For Gangster Tale 'Black Mass' Watch: Johnny Depp Rages As Whitey Bulger In First Trailer For Gangster Tale 'Black Mass' Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' And More Added To Cannes Film Festival Lineup Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' And More Added To Cannes Film Festival Lineup First Look: Johnny Depp Goes Gangster In As Whitey Bulger In 'Black Mass' First Look: Johnny Depp Goes Gangster In As Whitey Bulger In 'Black Mass' Watch: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Anne Hathaway, Michael Fassbender And More Talk The Art Of Acting Watch: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Anne Hathaway, Michael Fassbender And More Talk The Art Of Acting Review: Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Starring Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson & More Review: Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Starring Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson & More Watch: Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, And More Talk The Art Of Filmmaking Watch: Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, And More Talk The Art Of Filmmaking Christopher Nolan's Favorite Sequence From His Movies Is The Airplane Kidnapping Scene From 'The Dark Knight Rises' Christopher Nolan's Favorite Sequence From His Movies Is The Airplane Kidnapping Scene From 'The Dark Knight Rises' Joss Whedon Calls Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man' "The Best Script Marvel Ever Had," Warns Of Serialized Moviemaking Joss Whedon Calls Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man' "The Best Script Marvel Ever Had," Warns Of Serialized Moviemaking The 41 Most Anticipated Movies Of Summer 2015 The 41 Most Anticipated Movies Of Summer 2015 Watch: First Teaser For 'Star Wars: Rogue One,' Plot Details Confirmed Watch: First Teaser For 'Star Wars: Rogue One,' Plot Details Confirmed The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

SXSW '12 Review: 'Sun Don't Shine' Is A Watercolor Wisp Hybrid Of An Indie Relationship Pic & Murder Mystery Movie

Photo of Katie Walsh By Katie Walsh | The Playlist March 20, 2012 at 2:56PM

Early on in Amy Seimetz’s “Sun Don’t Shine,” it becomes very clear that this isn’t just your average young-white-couple-with-relationship-problems-on-a-road-trip indie flick that we can come to expect from festivals like SXSW. Oh, Crystal and Leo have problems alright. And a bad relationship. And a road trip to go on. But the one very big problem that lies at the crux of “Sun Don’t Shine” is rotting in their trunk. That pretty much eclipses the “who else have you slept with” conversations they might have (but they’ll have those too).
2
Sun Don't Shine

Early on in Amy Seimetz’s “Sun Don’t Shine,” it becomes very clear that this isn’t just your average young-white-couple-with-relationship-problems-on-a-road-trip indie flick that we have come to expect from festivals like SXSW. Oh, Crystal and Leo have problems alright. And a bad relationship. And a road trip to go on. But the one very big problem that lies at the crux of “Sun Don’t Shine” is rotting in their trunk. That pretty much eclipses the “who else have you slept with” conversations they might have (but they’ll have those too).

"Sun Don’t Shine” is a dreamy, watercolor wisp of a film, a sort of hazy, scattered approach to the traditional murder mystery. This stylistic approach works in its favor, as the film is told through the point of view of Crystal (Kate Lyn Sheil), who seems distracted, delusional, like she just woke up from a nap, still half in her dream world at all times. This is in sharp contrast to her boyfriend Leo (Kentucker Audley, a Garrett Hedlund doppelganger), who is frantic, worried, the gears in his head constantly grinding. He’s trying in vain to keep Crystal in check, to not call attention to themselves as they speed toward the Everglades.

Though the gritty handheld cinematography is grating at times (especially after a week of it at the fest), the visual aesthetic and the sound design plants you firmly within Crystal’s confused perspective. And yet, sometimes you ache to be free of the perspective of an abused woman driven to kill her husband in order to be with her boyfriend. This isn’t something we get from being inside Crystal’s head, it’s something that’s explained to us in a few expository conversations. Though it seems simple enough that Crystal stabbed her husband in order to escape her abuser and take off for freedom with her boy-toy (leaving behind her mother and daughter), that’s just too easy an explanation, and it refuses to go any further. Despite our alliance with her, we never understand Crystal, or why she says or does the things that she does. Maybe it’s that Crystal doesn’t understand herself either.

Sheil is beautiful and compelling and she gives a performance that embodies Crystal’s wavering between childlike naivete and dark, destructive instincts. There are a few moments of subjectivity that offered more insight into Crystal’s inner workings -- a dream sequence here, a sound cue there -- but nothing resulting in a cohesive pattern that might actually reveal something. Audley also gives an impressive performance as the harried Leo, struggling to make choices and do the right thing.

This is the feature directorial debut of actress Amy Seimetz, and while it doesn’t quite go all the way, it demonstrates an interesting sense of style and a firm handle on expressing an inner world on film. Yes, it’s gritty handheld, but it’s gritty handheld that’s trying to express something, which is more than we can say for some of the other films we saw at the fest. It’s an interesting hybrid of the relationship movie, mumbly indie and dark murder film, and the combination works here, for the most part. The storytelling is the weakest part of the film, which feels more like a half-drawn sketchy portrait of a troubled woman. However, the potential seen in the talent here makes us look forward to more from Seimetz, Sheil and Audley. [B-]

This article is related to: SXSW Film Festival, Review


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates