Sundown

Michel Franco’s ruined paradise
by
ABR Arts 04 July 2022

Sundown

Michel Franco’s ruined paradise
by
ABR Arts 04 July 2022
Tim Roth as Neil Bennett in <em>Sundown</em> (photo courtesy of Kismet Movies)
Tim Roth as Neil Bennett in Sundown (photo courtesy of Kismet Movies)

Michel Franco’s Sundown opens with a close-up of fish slowly suffocating on a boat deck, the first of many enigmatic interjections that punctuate the film. We begin with a family vacation in Acapulco. The Bennetts, an apparently typical nuclear family, swim, sip margaritas, and joke around on the terrace of their luxury resort suite.  They attend a cliff-diving contest at the iconic La Quebrada and dine at an exclusive outdoor restaurant. The atmosphere is one of relaxation, with a hint of uneasiness. The holiday mood turns when Alice Bennett (Charlotte Gainsbourg) receives news of her mother’s hospitalisation. The family pack hastily and leave for the airport. At the check-in counter, Neil Bennett (Tim Roth) tells Alice he has left his passport at the hotel and promises to follow on the next available flight. When Neil tells a taxi driver to take him to ‘any hotel’, we sense he has other plans.

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