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Achingly lovely on both visual and narrative grounds, Sunset Song adds another small gem to writer-director Terence Davies' filmography.
All Critics (112)
| Top Critics (30)
| Fresh (90)
| Rotten (22)
| DVD (1)
It has taken Terence Davies 18 years to bring Sunset Song to the screen, but it was worth it.
As a saga, the film waxes and wanes, but Davies' feel for the painterly landscape and the exquisite construction of whatever is within his frame never wavers.
It blooms with moments of astonishing beauty: a yellow frenzy of springtime trees; a still room where the light slants in the window like a reaching hand; a desolate landscape, impossibly green.
Like Davies' best work, the movie employs classical rigor - perfectly symmetrical, painterly landscapes and interiors - with unexpected postmodern touches.
"Sunset Song" is not without flaws, but it's an art film of uncommon beauty.
It's an absorbing, finely composed, fretful film. But when it's over, there is as much relief for the filmgoer as appreciation for the filmmaker's art.
Poetic narration, complex characters, and not a shortage on melodrama make Terence Davies' coming-of-age tale worthy of consideration.
Based on the first book in Lewis Grassic Gibbon's A Scots Quair trilogy, British cinema luminary Terence Davies's Sunset Song takes the beloved Scottish classic and bestows it with his own distinctive creative signature.
What remains - Davies' way with a score and the performance of Kevin Guthrie as Ewan Tavendale, Chris's beau, are the true highlights of the picture.
It's so long that by the end you're praying for the sun to set on this a good hour before it finally does.
At the end of a very long two-and-a-quarter hours not really understanding why certain characters have decided to do certain things... well, it's frustrating to say the least.
There is no such thing as a minor Terence Davies.
It's visual beauty is offset by the fact that the main character remains a cypher from begging to end.
Want to visit Scotland but can't afford a plane ticket? Want to see it from a rural perspective, pre-WWl, but no one's invented a time machine yet? You could do worse than this brief visit with a family living their day-to-day lives. Not a lot of exposition here, but it's all beautifully filmed. It's dull in some places, no doubt like Scotland herself, and you'll long for a chase scene somewhere, anywhere, even if it's only in a supermarket.
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