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Clayton Lin: Weighing In

Revelation Film Festival Picks: Watch The Sunset

Andrew Ryan

Tristan Barr & Chelsea Zeller in Watch The Sunset

Tristan Barr & Chelsea Zeller in Watch The Sunset

Director: Tristan Barr & Michael Gosden (Damien Lipp as Dir. Of Photography)

Cast: Tristan Barr, Michael Gosden, Chelsea Zeller, Annabelle Williamson

Running Time: 115 mins.

 

Watch The Sunset should be shown to every budding filmmaker about to embark on their first feature film- as a guideline of how to make an impressive debut.

Watch The Sunset is shot entirely in one take. Remember one must appreciate how difficult this gimmick is to shoot in practice. It takes a lot of takes to get the one take that makes the final cut. The entire script must be worked within the possibility of that one shot. Ever since the success of Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Ark (2002- but the movie feels timeless) there have been an upsurge in movies utilizing this style- Victoria and Lost In London (where Woody Harrelson made his directorial debut), with mixed success.

Watch The Sunset is set in the midst of the ice epidemic that ravaged small town Victoria, and follows one dramatic day in the life of ex-bikie Danny (Tristan Barr, who doubles up as director), who at the spur of moment consciously decides to wash his off hands of the gang lifestyle and hopes to get his estranged family out of the way. However events take a dark turn when his daughter Joey (Annabelle Williamson) is kidnapped by the bikers.

Watch The Sunset lives and dies on its pacing and photography- and on this aspect it does wonderfully- with the dark, bleak lighting reflective of the mood of the film, and its location. On the narrative- the opening half is solid and gripping, but then it loses its momentum as it whimpers to its rather anti-climatic ending. The performances are kinetic, channeling a sense of authenticity as they alternate between screaming at each other and then consoling and reassuring each other. The score by Richard Labrooy is haunting and perfectly enhances the tone of the proceedings.

Damien Lipp and Tristen Barr have delivered a solid piece, if not exactly a tour de force. But it’s worth considering that it’s a perfectly fine movie by filmmakers still on their journey.