Friday, April 26, 2013

Amy Seimetz's SUN DON'T SHINE proves a well-acted but tiresome road trip nowhere

Think of it as Double Indemnity for cretins. And without even any insurance policy! Amy Seimetz, recently so good as Upstream Color's leading lady, has here written and directed her first full-length narrative, the well-titled SUN DON'T SHINE. She has cast her movie with two good performers --multi-hyphen-ate actor/writer/
director/producer/editor Kentucker Audley and the alternately winsome and whiny Kate Lyn Sheil -- and filled it, plot-wise, with lies, deceit, betrayal and corpses. That ought to do it, right?

Wrong. What's missing from this mix is anything approaching believable characters. Despite the very game endeavors of Audley (below, right) and Sheil (below, left, and further below), who deliver moment-by-moment "truth," so ill-conceived are these two lame-brained clunks that the film comes as close to unintentional comedy as it does to anything else. This is too bad because, with a bit more effort in terms of plot and character in both concept and screenplay from Ms Seimetz, shown at right, the movie might have gone somewhere more believable and delivered something more genuinely appalling.

Instead we get a couple of lovers on the lam who are constantly at each other's throat, with momentary departures into oh-how-much-I-love-you territory that rings decidedly phony after a very short time. (If this is a couple who would kill for each other, it might be nice to see even a spark of the passion that ignites them.) Not only is our twosome tiresome, they also appear to be about as dumb as they come. The more we learn of them and their "plans," the more ridiculous their ideas and actions seem. It is not only difficult to render what we see happening as credible, the very idea that these two could have made it all the way to young adulthood without first self-destructing is pushing things.

I understand that, in movies such as this one, budget constraints are usually foremost. But Ms Seimetz errs in providing us two corpses without showing us either murder. Granted one takes place before the film begins, but the seeing the second one might have given us a bit more entrance into the character of the murderer. It's easier, though, to glide right past this, as happens here. And -- oh, yes -- we also get the kind of perfectly-timed coincidence in which one character manages to show up and look through the window at precisely the right moment to see... Yeah, yeah, yeah.

There are some good things here, aside from the acting: Ms Seimetz's ability to begin in media res and grab us rather firmly; hints of a society (in the U.S. south) so enfeebled that the line, "It's not my fault!" (but of course, it is) echoes down the movie as a societal indictment; and a totally new (to me, at least) use of bleach as a deodorant for the dead.

Sun Don't Shine, from Factory 25 and running but 80 minutes, opens today, Friday, April 26, in Manhattan (at the Cinema Village) and Seattle (at the Grand Illusion Cinema). You can access any other currently scheduled playdates by clicking here and then scrolling down. Factory 25 will also be releasing the film digitally on April 26th via cable VOD, iTunes, Amazon VUDU, X-Box, Sony Play-station and other digital outlets, with a DVD arriving late summer.

Special Note: personal appearances and 
a Q&A will be made by the film's director and her 
 two stars at the Cinema Village this Friday and Saturday 
(at the 6 and 7:45pm showings) and Sunday at 6pm only.

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