Neocolonial layabout in Acapulco – NRC

Neocolonial layabout in Acapulco – NRC
Neocolonial layabout in Acapulco – NRC

Indifference is a luxury. Not many people can afford to be rich and apathetic. Yet relatively many films are made about these types of characters. Sometimes they’re satirical, or something that should pass for that, like Triangle of Sadness by Ruben Östlund, or the just presented in Venice bardo, by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Sometimes admiration also seems to be hidden in the criticism: Western film and literary history is full of awe for the ‘superfluous hero’ à la Oblomov. Last year Venice brought everything similar sundownby Mexican director Michel Franco, who often looks at privilege and dysfunctional family relationships in his films.

In sundown he looks at Mexico from the perspective of a wealthy Brit. Nothing seems to touch him. When someone is killed in front of his eyes, he barely reacts. Neil Bennett, played by Tim Roth, is left with a lame excuse in Mexico after his sister and her two teenage children have to cut short their vacation due to a death in the family. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!” she bites him when she finds him two weeks later on a beach in Acapulco, a bottle of beer in his hand and a girlfriend thirty years his junior with whom he has listless sex. . The modern version of the neocolonial layabout, the degéneré with a permanent midlife crisis.

What exactly is going on with him remains the big question of the film for a long time. That mystery is the quality of sundown, partly due to the many dazzling abstract images of cameraman Yves Cape. As well as the clever, extremely elliptical scenario, which makes you feel like you’re looking at a character study of a man without a soul. Is he a psychopath or tragic? The fact that an explanation is given for his behavior at the end of the film pulls the valve out of the film and perpetuates the worn-out archetype of the enigmatic man who cannot be held responsible for his actions.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Neocolonial layabout Acapulco NRC

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