The Sunset Limited Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 12, 2011
A gritty, atmospheric and brilliantly crafted piece of work. A triumph from Writer, Cormack McCarthy and Director, Tommy Lee Jones. It`s filled with the beautifully written language of its words and superb performances from its two great stars. Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones both give some of the best and most passionate acting of their careers in this film. They have dynamic and brilliant chemistry. This moving, shattering and thought-provoking movie will keep you thinking by yourself long after it`s over. It truly leaves it`s mark on you when it`s at its most gripping moments or even in its darkly funny moments. A groundbreaking and terrifically character drawn movie. It`s truly stunning, powerful and absolutely unforgettable.
Super Reviewer
½ June 1, 2011
Tommy Lee Jones goes director and goes simple with The Sunset Limited.The full 90 minutes of screen time takes place in a single room apartment with only a couple central characters to follow. Unsurprisingly, the plot is light, but the film takes its time in revealing the major details about it. So the plot is light, it takes place in a single apartment, and there are only two characters. What keeps this picture going for 90 minutes? The dialogue.The dialogue is philosophical, religious, and what makes it all moderately entertaining is that the views of the two characters are different. Each of them has their moments during this 90 minute discussion, which all leads up to a dramatic 10 minute conclusion.To top it all off, Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson portray the two individuals at the table. Both mesh well together and both know how to, and do, effectively deliver their lines. This movie wouldn't have been the same without them.For what it is, The Sunset Limited is nicely done, but it is the subject matter that is the determining factor at how enjoyable it is.
Super Reviewer
April 10, 2011
Seriously boring.. if you don't feel like falling asleep watching a movie don't watch this movie. You can actually just listen to this movie and not even see it. Just two grown men talking about different ideas including racism, jail, religion, god and eveything else in between.

Two men in an apartment with their opposing beliefs.
Julian Left
Super Reviewer
February 25, 2011
"Like Kubrick's 2001, this is a movie about content and... containers."

What a powerful and emerging film that depicts the two opposing sides of this universe. I was really surprised by the quality of this "little" film. This isn't a movie about two people talking in a room about random stuff. This isn't a film about two life-travelers that engage in an ongoing argument about the human condition. This is a film about the quality of life. Not the meaning of it but the quality. The details in it's design. The true valor's clockwork.

The duality of belief, as a general term, is analyzed completely in this great approach of the Cormac McCarthy novel in which the two main protagonists, "named" simply Black (Samuel L. Jackson) and White (Tommy Lee Jones) are debating over a serious and dangerous issue. "White tried to jump in front of a train and Black came and saved his ass. He carries him in his apartment and tries to put some sense into this White dude." Right? Not really. "The movie also promotes religion and is an ongoing boredom that I completely despise." RIght? Not really again. This has a greater meaning than just that. We live in a world filled with pathetic lies, corny truths, raised flags over white buildings and big letters over or on the dark ones. We live in a world where prostitution is legalized even in the cultural state of the society. We live in a world where rejection, where pain, where slavery and failure are common attraction to the atrocious tourists. We are hoping to free the world from the hands of the manipulators and selfish dictators, we organize revolutions, we fight for freedom but in the end we all get trapped in the same positions as we were before. This is what this movie is about. It's about the ongoing fight carried to win our faith back. Faith, science, culture, logic, mathematics, metaphors, feelings, achievements... They are all the same. They are contents, ingredients and thoughts that the humankind must have in order to survive the greatest threat of them all. The threat which is not the monetary system, the threat which is not the harsh reality, the threat which is not the solely figurative place of the man in the world, but the threat that is represented in the lack of faith in ourselves. We are our own guides because we rule this world. This is why this movie has captured my attention completely. It's not a masterpiece, it's not a grand scale picture, it's not a studio banking option, it's not even part of the best films in the last years but... at the same time... it's simply great. I loved it because it really balances amazingly well the truth revealed along the film with the denouement. They are identical as both form and content.

I also liked the little details like the black coffee, the text erased at the bottom of the Bible, the absence of tv and radio, the lockers on the door and not to mention the biggest detail of them all... the room. Just think about the room vs. everything else. Order vs. Chaos. Even in a messy world we could find order...

Going further to the execution, the story is well structured, the dialogues are haunting, the cliches are gone because even if you find them they tend to leap by the end of the film, the acting is impeccable and the technical aspect of the movie was a comfortable surprise. It's exactly what the film needed. I can't talk too much about this film because I don't want to enter into the details... I just hope people could see what a good movie this really is. I'm pretty sure few movies captured my attention as this one did. Like Kubrick's 2001, this is a movie about content and... containers.

Storyline/Dialogue: 8,5/10.
Acting: 8,5/10.
Art Direction: 6,5/10.
Cinematography/Editing: 7,5/10.
Score/Soundtrack: 7/10.
Overall: 8,0
Super Reviewer
February 14, 2011
The Sunset Limited is a film adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy play (screenplay also written by McCarthy) about a discussion between a religious man (played by Samuel L. Jackson) and the suicidal professor (Tommy Lee Jones, who also directed) whose life he just saved. This movie blew me away. It absolutely blew me away. On one hand, The Sunset Limited is some incredibly heavy and well-written dialogue for a movie that's 90 minutes of two men talking in a run-down apartment with zero movement. Both actors are phenomenal in their roles to the point where I have a completely new found appreciation for both of them and it feels like every moment I don't talk about this movie is killing me. Jesus Christ, this was amazing! And the best part is that I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the fact that HBO's last few movies (sorry, this one isn't in theaters) have beat the living shit out of 90% of anything that's shown on a big screen in the last few years. Hollywood should just eat a dick and wrap it up right now because here's 2011's movie of the year.
Super Reviewer
½ February 14, 2011
I have a confession for all of you film fans - I am a confirmed lover of live theatre. I have been a season subscriber to the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco for 38 years running. There, I've said it. Don't condemn me for my vice however, as I can also appreciate a well put together film.

When you combine both - you get something like The Sunset Limited, a two person play, taking place in a single room of a dingy apartment, where not much happens except the magic of a terrific script by Cormac McCarthy and the wonderful acting being displayed by Tommy Lee Jones (who also directed), and Samuel L. Jackson.

If you are a fan of car chases and things blowing up - then this film is not for you. It is a play, and as such, is all about the words... and what words. A 90-minute discourse takes place concerning faith and the human condition that aptly supports both sides of every argument.

From a simple action (not seen), the rest of the play develops - In a nutshell (and I'm not giving anything away here); Jones attempts to take a leap in front of an oncoming train, only to run into Jackson. One has no faith in anything and feels humanity is doomed, while the other has found himself in the Lord and believes in the covenant that he is put on this earth to help his fellow man. What ensues is argument and counter argument as Jackson tries to save Jones, and Jones continues to refute Jackson's beliefs.

The subject of faith is well-traveled territory, and in lesser hands, this play could exhibit a huge yawn, but McCarthy keeps things interesting, weaving from a certain directness to abstracts and allegory; and it all gives the two actors plenty to chew on.

Jones filming technique here is simple and the editing flawless. Since the two characters are locked in a single room, nuance and little everyday things carry more weight. There is enough background noise to give you the feeling that you really are in a seedy apartment located in a bad neighborhood somewhere in NYC.

I really want to read this play - taking my time with the concepts and the language in which they are presented. Does this make a good movie? In my opinion yes, though I'm sure there are those who will find this dry and uninteresting.
Super Reviewer
February 7, 2013
A terrific, dialog driven philosophical discussion between two men with completely opposite world views being totally honest with one another. Shy away if you need action. This is really just two men talking, but I was completely immersed in the interplay between a man who sees no reason to go on, and one whose life was given back to him when confronted with his own mortality, and who now does what he can to bring an opportunity to change to others. I found myself in sympathy with both men, as I still live in the intersection between faith and reason. I give it five stars, because I want to watch this one again and again, to absorb the implications of what each man expresses.
Super Reviewer
February 23, 2011
There was an article in the New York Times on Sunday by A.O. Scott, lamenting when good actors appear in bad movies.(Of which, Robert De Niro is the unofficial king, by the way.) And while Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones have done their share of bad movies in the past, they more than show what they can do with excellent material with Cormac McCarthy's "The Sunset Limited" with only the set of a dilapidated apartment in Harlem between them.

Two lonely middle-aged men, one Black(Samuel L. Jackson) and one White(Tommy Lee Jones, who also directs), a university professor, have the best conversation they have had in a very long time.(The play is really not about race, by the way.) It's a shame that it took Black saving White from throwing himself in front of a subway train for it to happen. Black is trying to make sure White does not try it again, using the Bible as his one and only reference book while White counters with the awfulness of his surroundings and pretty much the entire human race.

Deftly, "The Sunset Limited" transcends its minimalist setting to get fully beneath your skin, no matter where on the debate you may be. Personally, I'll always side with the guy who has read more than one book. But in the spirit of the film's search for meaning in perhaps random events, I'm left wondering if there is any reason why the 155th Street-8th Avenue subway station, one stop away from Yankee Stadium, is specifically referenced.
Super Reviewer
½ April 18, 2012
A confined dialogue driven film adapted from a stage play, very much in the style of The Big Kahuna. The chemistry between Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson works tremendously, with each bringing a captivating presence to every scene (perhaps better worded as shot for this film). This makes the film work, there is really no action (or much movement for that manner), but we see development through the characters and their dialogue. At the same time, the material is certainly better suited for a play, it's just a little too confining for what it is. The script is very intelligently written, however, and succeeds at being engaging, but fell apart for me at the end a little, with a melodramatic monologue from Tommy Lee Jones that didn't see completely in-tune with his earlier actions and was perhaps overwritten. Still, a smart drama.

3.5/5 Stars
Super Reviewer
February 27, 2012
This HBO television film, based on the play written by Cormac McCarthy was something to be remembered! I'd love to see it again... even few more times! The Sunset Limited is a relentless play but it was adapted so well by Tommy Lee Jones that it seemed like perfect format for the big screen.

You could summarized it with : "Two players. Two sides. One is light. One is dark." And I haven't enjoyed a screenplay so much for a long time... probably since Bergman's masterpieces. Jones' suicidal college professor is simply named White, while his saviour, a man of faith played by Samuel L. Jackson, is called Black. I could not believe how smoothly I was emerged in the 90-minute conversation in a Washington Heights tenement! Everything was happening in the immediate aftermath of White's suicide attempt at a subway station. Many questions will tickle your mind watching this movie while enjoying the verbal tennis played between the two main characters flowing...

I'll recommend this to everyone who likes a stimulating debate- suitable for atheists, believers and agnostics!
Super Reviewer
½ February 21, 2011
I bet it works better on stage but I have to say that the final scene pulls the rug out from underneath the audience in such a great way. Jackson and Jones are great, but Cormac McCarthy's script is the real standout here.
Super Reviewer
February 15, 2011
Excellent film. I haven't been this mentally stimulated since a documentary. "Limited" follows a born-again ex-con (Samuel L. Jackson) discussing religion and life with a suicidal atheist professor (Tommy Lee Jones). The entire film is these two men in Jackson's apartment at a table, talking. It says a lot about a film and an actor's skill if you can keep the viewer's attention with just two actors, in one room, for over an hour. And it felt actually like watching a play on film. Jones and Jackson were perfectly cast. They brought such personality to roles that could've easily come across as melodramatic if played by other actors. But the conversation was the best part. Jackson's character regaled Jones' with stories of his past life in prison, Jones kept denying God's existence. It was like being a fly on a wall. And on top of that, you have Jackson's big and charming personality filling up the room. I definitely recommend!
October 8, 2011
Just didn't find it satisfying. I think it's engaging and would make for a great 2 person play but the actual arguments they make, the actual content of their conversation is nothing new, nothing insightful on either side. Or at least none if it really resonated with me. The amount of focus you have to put into the movie is like reading a book on philosophy, something which i have done plenty of. You really have to listen to every word and in the end, to get so little out of it really makes this just not worth while. Reminded me of a student project as far as the level of the writing, a good student project but a perhaps sophomoric effort. A grade performances from Jackson and Jones but who would expect anything less?
August 6, 2012
i knew nothing about this but the title and by that i thought thered be a train but wot i got was a powerhouse performances by 2 of america's best actors working 2day.
June 26, 2012
Impressive performance from two great actors. Some good dialog but overall the "philosophical" content of the dialog is quite basic.
½ June 19, 2012
Being a christian I couldn't help but being sucked in to this amazing film that can take you through a physiological mind twist in just an New York apartment. This film is simply amazing.
May 30, 2012
My Dinner with Cormac. Dark as death, insightful as any discussion with philosophers (and with markedly less semantics), and one of Sam Jackson's best performances. Irresistible.
½ February 21, 2011
interesting movie. you gota watch it twice for everything to soak in, then maybe even watch it again.
February 17, 2011
Two master actors and their best performances I ve ever seen. A deep philosophical story. You may be a believer or not, the clash between faith and reason is only a way. The film is all about human. 90 mins in a single room oh I forgot and a toilet *lol* but never bored me. Dont let single location thing effect your decision to watch it. One of the most powerful scripts I ve ever seen.
½ August 17, 2015
Featuring two powerhouse performances from Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L Jackson, The Sunset Limited, making use of such heavy themes as religion, logic, and the will to live and what drives the human spirit to cling onto its life, proves once again that Cormac McCarthy is indeed one of the best writers of our age.
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