The Sunset Limited (TV Movie 2011) Poster

(2011 TV Movie)

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A movie that lingers, in a good way
thekarmicnomad27 November 2011
The concept of this movie is almost impossible to sell (two dudes talking in a room) if that is an automatic switch off for you then give this a miss, have a good evening.

It almost was for me but as the two dudes in question are Tommy Lee and Samuel L, I thought I would give it a shot; glad I did as I was instantly gripped and before I realised it the end credits were rolling.

The two perform an elegant dance of dialogue, Samuel's character from the slant of a straight shooting, Southern ex-con who has found Jesus and Tommy as the depressed, over educated nihilist.

There is nothing groundbreakingly new here. The discussion follows paths we have all considered, is there a god? could anyone bare living forever? But the two are masters at their trade.

This is an excellent film, if you insist on car chases and explosions to enjoy a movie (nothing wrong with that) then steer well clear. Otherwise give this a go. It won't change your life but will definitely affect your week.
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Like Kubrick's 2001, this is a movie about content and... containers.
montera_iulian25 February 2011
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 clichés 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.
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The Sunset is not Limited
darrendebari12 February 2011
Two men trapped in a room with their opposing beliefs. The words of Cormac McCarthy. The direction of Tommy Lee Jones. The powerhouse combination of Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones. Two actors. One room. Big Ideas. Emotions run high. The essence of Drama is Conflict.

This 90 minute look at two men's opposing beliefs is strong and will resonate with the viewer long after it is over. It's the story of a man who wants to end his life and another man who wants to save it. What rings true is the direction of Tommy Lee Jones. It gels so well with the words of Cormac McCarthy.

These two actors gel even better making it all the richer. Jackson has the flashier role where Jones plays his complexly understated. If any actor could raise your heart rate by talking it's Sam Jackson. His character's belief in God is sincere and matched with Jones's dark, realistic view of the world.

Speaking of realistic-Don't go looking for a neat ending. This film stays true to it's subject matter and these actors stay even truer to their characters. Jones, as a student of theater and literature, knows as a director to let the words live and breathe. Because he does Jackson and him make a monument out of two chairs and a table in a small room. This sunset is anything but limited.
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Tommy Lee Is Great In This
accountcrapper27 February 2011
This is a truly good film. If you like thinking about life, death, suicide, God, the state of man - then this is a film for you. This film offers an intense dialogue between Mr.Black and Mr.White or two opposing sides of an argument. Tommy Lee Jones plays a cultured intellectual secularist and Samuel L. Jackson plays a violent uneducated ex-con who found salvation in God and Bible.

I really just wrote this review to applaud the performance of Tommy Lee Jones. He is almost unrecognizable in the role. He seems to have totally assumed the character. Samuel L. Jackson plays to his strengths. Sometimes Jackson comes off as a bit cartoonish or like he is playing a caricature of himself but usually it works.

Excellent. Like a stage play.
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Tactrix20 February 2011
It is my deepest pleasure to review this movie. Have you ever wondered what would happened if god and the devil sat down and had a conversation about the true state of the world? This is a movie where exactly that happens, only instead of god you have Samuel L Jackson arguing for the side of faith, and Tommy Lee Jones arguing for the side of suicide, now heres how the movie goes, it takes place in one room where they go back and fourth discussing the merits on religion, the state of the world as a whole, the human condition, the future, and about a dozen other topic. At first glance this sounds like it would be a dull movie, trust me its not. If you like actual conversation and true dialog this is the movie for you. 10/10 for finally making a movie thats as real as real can be.
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Jayfarr197513 February 2011
I've never felt so compelled to write in on how I feel about a movie until I had experienced "The Sunset Limited" last night on HBO.

I was really moved. I actually burst into tears at one point.

Two men having a philosophical debate about life and death and the idea that knowledge is a burden, and the more we know, the more miserable we become is one point of debate in this powerful film. Some of the best writing and acting I've seen, anywhere.

Multiple viewings may be required for most to fully absorb the impact. A real punch in the gut.

I actually felt like dusting off my old Bible and thumbing through it for a while when the movie ended.

I don't know what else to say about this movie except that if you have not seen it yet, you MUST. It makes so much sense and it is a real eye opener.

McCarthy is genius. I love all is work and this is just an absolute masterpiece of writing.

Tommy Lee Jones and my man Sammy L. are absolutely mesmerizing. I have not seen acting this good in a long time.

There is so much I want to tell you about this film, but words just cannot do it justice.

I loved every second of this film, and I hope you do to.

P.S.- I NEVER give a movie 10 stars because I like to reserve that honor for something that is truly special. This is truly special.
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A deep movie, for a specific genre of viewers
y-g-jigsaw26 March 2011
It's a debate about the meaning of Life. a mind blowing movie for specific viewers. If you don't like films depending only on dialog .. Don't bother watching it! (I mean movies like "The Man from Earth").

On the other hand, if you are interested in Philosophy, that maybe the movie of your dreams.

This film is also a fight between two of my favorite actors ..the superb Tommy Lee Jones and the furious Samuel L. Jackson.

I loved every second of the film, and I'm really looking forward to watch it again very soon.

P.S: If you are going to watch it, please sit down and focus because the movie requires a lot of attention to every discussion.
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Superb, all-around...
scooterdude1713 February 2011
Right off the bat, this movie is a great watch for anyone, no matter what they believe about life, death, or what's next. This movie does an amazing job of addressing theological philosophy without alienating anybody. These are things we all think about, whether or not we've come to any conclusions.

The acting and directing are terrific. Couldn't be better. The writing is good enough to make it worth reading the play by itself.

In the same way that a really good "sports movie" can be deeply moving to people who aren't exactly sports fans, this movie will be deeply moving to people who aren't necessarily into thinking about God, death, or the afterlife.

If you're wondering whether or not to watch, rent, or buy this movie; do it. It's worth it.
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Touched like never before
jiangjonas17 February 2011
I'm 24, live in Sweden and I consider myself rather cultural. I have a big interest in movies, music, photography and such. In that context I have seen a lot of movies.

This is the first movie that have ever made me cry.

My fantasy was running wild during the hole 1½ hour, and I wish it would have never ended. I had thoughts and ideas about the outside world, the characters and I lived in the movie like never before. I wanted so many things to happen so badly like it was happening to me. The dialog blew me away and I have never seen acting that good.

Best movie I have ever seen.

p.s. I am an atheist. and still am.
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A shining example of story telling
charlie_alejandro21 February 2011
This movie with Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones transcends us back to a time when movies relied on the deepness of story lines and not on special effects or loud soundtracks. This movie takes us to the extreme test of our faith, in what we believe about the seen and unseen. It also reminds us that at times we are so busy trying to save others we forget to save ourselves, and sometimes almost become lost in the process. The acting talent of Mr. Jones and Mr. Jackson makes for a powerful movie and leaves us evaluating what we ourselves believe. Tommy Lee Jones' directing style makes you feel as if you are a third person in the room being an observer to the debate that transpired between both characters. If you need to be amused by bells and whistles, this is not the film for you, but if you enjoy film making at its purest form, with deep plot lines and dialogue this movie is a must see as these characters will haunt you long after the lights come back on.
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Bold Movie Making – Masters at Work.
JohnRayPeterson1 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Bold Movie Making – Masters at Work. This movie will absolutely not appeal to action junkies and comedy addicts. Does it leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling at the end and will you want to bring your family together to watch it? Most definitely not. Is it a thriller or a drama? Well not really, but it was a thrill for me to watch it.

This movie will interest people who watch an inordinate number of movies or people who regularly read good books. Anyone who can appreciate a product of either medium when that product makes you think throughout and till the end will likely enjoy this movie. It is challenging and will make you feel like you are investing time in art, an investment I believe pays off handsomely. It is deeply engaging.

It is not entertaining in the traditional sense but it is an experience you will not soon forget and a spectacle you will not see again for a long long time if in fact you ever do. The author Cormac McCarthy, a hot novelist, whose projects appear to always have a line-up of producers wanting the movie property rights, wrote this play "The Sunset Limited". It's about two men having a discussion; the whole story takes place in a single barren apartment.

Who would want to make a movie about that? I suppose the play would require superb dialogue, the likes of which keeps you interested early on and does not let off as time passes; it would also have to feature two actors who are masters at their craft and have theatrical and movie experience. The actors are Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L.Jackson. You see where I'm going! The topic of the discussion is God and the value of faith on the one side, as perceived by a very smart and likable evangelical; on the polar side is the well known existentialist's point of view and the usual despair and angst associated with that philosophy, as argued by an equally smart professor in full possession of the expected intellect. If that does not sound like a commercial hit, I don't know what…!

Of course, I could argue that it takes a certain amount of self indulgence for an actor/director to make this movie, but I would not be sincere. I enjoyed the repartee between Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones way too much to do so, but I've read hints to that effect in other reviews and critics. If there was self indulgence on Jones part, I don't care.

Tommy Lee Jones, well acquainted with that author's work as he starred in McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men", was fortunate to get a shot at this property and he had the fortitude to bring it onto the screen. The concept is not without merit. By making a movie, Jones can use all that this form of art has to offer to enhance the experience the play would have to offer to start with. Close-ups, calculated angles and visual perspectives, scene environment sound effects, all are used to bring us a performance the play in a theatre could not quite deliver as effectively. How many people have seen or will see the play? How many will get the chance to do so? How many will watch the movie? Because T.L. Jones made this movie, the number answered in the first two instances will be greater. As for the third question, whatever the number is, that is the number of people who can be thankful for Jones fortitude.

Albert Camus and J.-P. Sartre would grin appreciatively at Jones delivery of McCarthy's words. All good and enthusiastic Christians would applaud Jackson's character's valiant effort to save the sinner. Jones and Jackson are the perfect choice for the two characters; they masterfully convey their respective character's feelings, never over doing it. No matter how often the following cliché has been heard before, it has never ringed as true for me as it does with these two actors and this movie: "It's as if the lines had been written just for them."

I read some thirty reviews of the movie, the ones preceding mine, and I read many critics; I hope and trust I did not repeat anyone else's unique observations but am sure I am repeating in my own way that this movie is a brilliant film and that Jackson and Jones are at their best here.
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A Rare Movie: One That Makes You Think
Michael_Elliott15 February 2011
Sunset Limited, The (2011)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Thought-provoking drama about a black religious man (Samuel L. Jackson) who stops a white atheist (Tommy Lee Jones) from killing himself. Later that day the two men find themselves inside the black man's ghetto apartment where they share stories about their past as well as their different views on religion, life and death. This film is based on the Cormac McCarthy play of the same name but I had no idea what the film was about. I basically went into this thing based on the reputations of Jackson and Jones and the end results was a movie that makes you think and that's pretty rare these days. The film runs just under 90-minutes and we only have two different characters who are trying to figure out the other. The only thing that brought these men together was Jones' attempted suicide and Jackson being there to save him. I must admit that the film was extremely deep and it's probably going to be hard for most to gather everything with just one viewing but the opinions brought up from both characters will probably stay with most for a very long time. The screenplay by McCarthy does a terrific job at bouncing back and forth between various subjects. Throughout the dialogue we learn about both men and we get various bits and pieces as the film moves along. We learn that Jackson was in prison where he nearly beat a man into becoming a deformed cripple but this wasn't the worst thing he has done in his life. We learn that Jones hated his parents and doesn't have a single friend. The film takes basic set-ups like these and takes them into so many directions that you can't help but hang onto every word that's spoken and can't wait to see where it leads. The discussion of religion is one of the most frank conversations I've ever heard. Jackson's very passionate about God and his reasons make sense. Jones, on the other hand, is very passionate that there isn't anything out there and his reasons also make sense. The film doesn't try to say which person is right or why the other is wrong. Instead we're given two characters with different opinions and that's what makes the story work so well. Both Jackson and Jones do splendid work and there's no question that both give some of the best performances we're going to see in 2011. Jackson has the louder role and there's no one better when it comes to giving passionate line reading. Jones has mostly a quiet part but he says so much with that wonderful face of his that you can feel his pain even when he isn't saying anything. Both men do a terrific job together and what I enjoyed most is how their acting towards one another changed as the film moved along and as their characters became more familiar and comfortable with the other. The film asks a lot of questions and if you're looking for answers then you might be disappointed. The movie makes the right choice of not trying to answer everything but instead it just throws ideas out there and forces the viewer to make up their own mind. This is a complicated little movie but it's a real gem and Jones does a very good job bringing it to life.
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I would love to see it again as a theatrical performance
billgdi6 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The most amazing and touching film I have seen for a long time! The scenario is excellent. The two mens' acting is brilliant. At some time I felt like a third person in that room. God against Gods absence. Sin against purity. Positive against negative. Black against White.Normal against Ubnormal.Remembrance against Oblivion. Two worlds collide in a 90 minute, non stop, breathtaking sequence. I don't remember again a film with so simple set and with only two actors playing keeping me breathless for one and a half hours! The two men play very natural and very convincing. The scenario at the other hand is powerful and immersive. At last, the ending, is not black. It is not white either. Its definitely gray! A 90 minute philosophical torrent through the "gray matter" of life... Brilliant!
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This is not just a movie... this is art.
snookie-68 August 2011
That's it. I love it. I love movies that never depend on spending. I love movies that realize an idea with just words and expressions. Script and acting. That's what this movie is all about. Imagine someone you know told you "Hey, there is a movie where a couple of guys sit in a room for an hour and a half and talk about the world"... would you be interested? I certainly wasn't. Then I saw the cast. Jackson and Jones. I was hooked. So I saw it. At first I wasn't very enthusiastic with where this conversation was going. I'd already seen enough of an atheist and a Christian argue about that certain topic (seriously, who hasn't)... but after the first ten minutes I was surprised by the dept and color these two brought into this "black and white" conversation. This movie is a pure reminder of what a true movie should look like and what should its "primacy" be. The idea, the characters, the dialogue. The movie was made for this purpose only - bringing out THE ONLY THINGS that matter in a movie and art in general. A talented, soulful exhibition of a problem or an emotion we can all relate to. And the feelings both actors described - those were feelings I could surely relate to. All you need for this movie is attention. And once these two incredible actors gain it the audience sees two things: For those old enough or interested enough to have been on this kind of performance - they will see something they've been missing for a long time. For those that are new to cinema and/or may be too young to be introduced to this particular form of art - they will see something they would wish to see more of.

And if someone doesn't like this movie - I'm pretty sure he or she probably wasn't paying any attention.
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Good acting and powerful script ... but ...
alecwest17 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I admire the acting skills of Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. And Cormac McCarthy can write a powerful script that brings out these skills. All 5 stars go to the abilities of these 3 men.



Ultimately, this film is a 90 minute sermon with which the preacher (Jackson) fails to redeem the sinner (Jones). Or, at least it seemed that way as Jones left the room. If I want to hear a 90 minute sermon, I'll go to church - not to cable TV.

Still, the ending scene will stick to me ... with Jackson collapsing to the floor and, with a vacant look, asking God, "Is that OK? Is that OK?" Jackson had the look of someone who'd been "deprogrammed" from his faith, replacing it with Jones' sense of futility. And he had the look of someone who realized he'd just finished preaching more to himself than to Jones in a vain attempt to cling to his own beliefs.

If that was going through Jackson's mind, it could be that the NEXT scene (after the film ended) might show Jackson waiting on that same platform for the Sunset Limited to come by (for the same reason as Jones).
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A film about alienation rather than atheism
quevaal19 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is a good film, with great acting, provided you don't think it's going to be an atheist/theist discussion film. I see many people think that, but that's not what this really is about.

The atheist is suicidal, so he isn't representing a typical scientific, optimistic outlook on life as we have grown accustomed to from argumentative professors lately. In fact, most atheists will feel quite uneasy with many of his arguments.

To him, everything is futile. You need to see this in the context of the post WW2 era, since he's very much caught up in the holocaust which to him made everything pointless. This is interesting, but in a sense, this is also the film's weakness, that I get the feeling that they have made a film out of a 50 year old drama.(I haven't found out when it was written but it doesn't seem like it was staged before after 2000) You should think that this is a timeless subject, but things have changed.

While the preacher, being a lay preacher with a prison background, uses 50 year old arguments, this is not so uncommon for this type. However, in the beginning, I got annoyed when the professor couldn't counter these fairly simple arguments. This may have been the whole point, that the professor was a bit out of it. However, in the end, the professor completely rips through the preacher's arguments as he unleashes all his inner darkness.

His depression and bleak outlook of life is what makes the film good. Don't expect to find good arguments for a happy godless life, because there aren't anyone in this movie.
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A great movie with great actors and great acting. Very very good but not for everyone. I recommend it though. I say B+
cosmo_tiger24 December 2011
"I ain't saying your having a bad day professor. I'm saying your having a bad life. While trying to kill himself a professor (Jones) is saved by a stranger (Jackson) and taken back to his house. While there they get into a discussion about why he did what he did and the existence of God. I have to say that I really liked this movie but it is not for everyone. This movie is just those two actors talking to each other, so I don't think that will appeal to everyone. This movie is based on on play and had that definite feel of one. The main reason to watch this movie is because of the acting. This is easily one of, if not the best acted movie of this year and of many years. The movie felt like it was all done in one take, and the way the acting was I wouldn't be surprised if it was. This is a rare movie that sucks you in with the acting and story and keeps you interested all the way until the end and keeps you thinking about it long after it's over. Overall, a movie that I really enjoyed but it's not for everyone. I think it's very much worth watching. I give it a B+.
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Right up there with the greats like 12 angry men & man from earth
fahimakhter5 February 2015
Its often great to cut down all the glamor all Hollywood and just have a raw film with a couple of folks sitting down at the table discussing life and this sir just delivers that and up to the mark.

A professor tries to kill himself and the gentleman who saves him takes him home and their sitting at the table discussing life , God , religion and everything in between.

Unlike the above mentioned films (12 Angry Men, Man from Earth) it doesn't have the twists and turns or tries to run towards a conclusion it's a discussion leading to more discussions perhaps not as jumpy as coffee and cigarettes but more real to life and about life.

One a man of God trying to explain his beliefs while exploring or narrating his life events along the way, the other a read man with his lost hope in humanity and finding the reason of existence explained without the existence of God.

The acting is top notch and nothing less could be expected from the seasoned actors.

The story does not force you to a conclusion nor does it state a right of wrong but leaves you just like it should thinking about the whole thing while you lay in bed that night.

A must watch.
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Conversation can be hair-raising
Stuart_Edmund_Scott_Gardner21 February 2020
I just watched The Sunset Limited. I'm eager to see it again, and will tomorrow.

Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson are the only actors in the 91 minute film, which consists of a single unbroken dialogue set in the living room of a tenement building overrun by junkies and squatters. Jackson's railroad worker may be the building's only occupied resident. The names of his character and Jones's, a suicidal university professor, are never used.

The movie opens on the pair sitting at the lineman's dining table, discussing why each did what he did minutes earlier. The professor tried to kill himself by jumping in front of the oncoming Sunset Limited. The lineman caught him and brought him to his squalid room, unwilling to let the stranger out of his sight.

The lineman is uneducated, spent years in federal prison for a murder he acknowledges committing, and believes in God. The professor, a brilliant academic, is an atheist whose pursuit of knowledge leaves him craving death and resenting the lineman's interference. His rescuer has locked the several bolts on his door both out of habit and determination not to let the troubled man hurt himself, but when the professor insists on going home, his host is willing to allow it only provided they go together.

Resigned, the professor sits and the men resume their debate, one making the case for life, the other unable to accept reasoning that begins with faith, insisting on unassailable logic and employing a subtle vocabulary to prove the absurdity of continuing. The simpler and therefore happier of the two uses plain language to demonstrate what to him is self evident, countering the scholar's unnerving calm with passion and his logic with acquiescence to life's mystery.

I watched the film with my father and brother, and we agree that it sped by like an action thriller to a climactic soliloquy that made each of us feel his hair stand on end.

The Sunset Limited was directed by Tommy Lee Jones and written by Cormac McCarthy, based on his play.
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Not your typical Hollywood movie
rwmitchem2 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler alert - so here's what I thought was going to happen in the end of this film. White guy leaves, walks downstairs and then decides to say one more thing to black guy and finds the apartment empty! That's your typical Hollywood ending. Oh wow, it was an angel and he saved his life and now the dumb atheist knows a god is real blah blah blah. And this is what many of the lower numbers ratings/reviews wished for. Fortunately this film was based in realism and not fantasy. Which was the point of the film. You have a believer that has absolutely no way to show what he believes is real. And a nonbeliever that just wants his existence to end and he longs for nothingness. The nonbeliever is an educated man, while the believer is an ex-con murderer that found Jesus. This is a dialog film that definitely worth watching in my opinion, but just don't expect a happy go lucky ending, but a realistic one.
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Perfection and Truth
patrick-ohana16 February 2011
Easily the best story ever told by two characters, and the ending could not be any better. The lack of music is mesmerizing. I never thought that a movie could survive without it. Perfection! Truth! The same thing really. One of the best movies I have ever watched. Another viewing is forthcoming, but not any time soon. First-rate writing, acting and directing. It is really a play, a filmed play; it is based on a play. I would even go farther, perhaps the farthest, and say that life was somewhat worth it as long as I had not seen this movie, and now that I have, there is really no point to it; life, that is. In case you do, do not; worry that is, about me. Watch the movie first and then wonder if you should be worried.
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What A Powerful Movie
patsworld10 February 2012
The Sunset Limited. What a powerful movie. There aren't many films that catch me in a grip I can't get out of...few that I don't craft at something while I'm watching when I bring a DVD home. This one was one of the few. I can't, won't, give anything away about how it comes to a conclusion, but the ending made me cry and I'm still crying. I will surely recommend this but I will do so with a caveat prepared to be spellbound. I'm not even a fan of either of those actors, not especially, although both have had films I've enjoyed. But I can't imagine anyone, other than those two, as either character. Samual L Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones were superb in this movie.
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An abstract showcasing of the contrasting nature of man's consciousness
lhe-3301010 July 2020
Polar opposites collide through dialogue:

Black vs White is the simplest METAPHOR to comprehend this ever-prevalent theme of abstractions making up the world we know.

What the movie does is show that polar opposites are also, paradoxically, the same. There can be no black without the white, and vice versa. It is like watching the Yin and the Yang in human forms - and you will start to comprehend the GRAY, that is life experienced by all of us.

Great movie if you like books or theater or thinking deeply. Or just respect watching two great actors give us art.

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Great performances, unpersuasive thematic exploration
scartol5 March 2011
I was really looking forward to this, since I love Jones and Jackson and McCarthy. I enjoy Shakespeare and philosophy and movies like _My Dinner with Andre_ and _Mindwalk_.

Alas, this movie left me feeling unsatisfied and annoyed. I'll admit right away that I don't have any sympathy for the humdrum bleak existentialist reasoning expressed by White in this movie. If (as he says) the hope of human civilization was extinguished in the gas chambers of Dachau, then it was resurrected in the revolt of Treblinka. If the horrors of the human slave trade and the Middle Passage obliterates the nobility of our species, then Harriet Tubman reorients us to the possibility of ourselves and shows us the true face of prophecy.

Joseph Asagai answers White's pessimism in _A Raisin in the Sun_ by dismissing the notion that he and others like him are "realists". Trapped in a cycle of limited vision and despair, they refuse to see the good and progress of humanity as any kind of counterbalance to the evil, and yet they get to pretend that theirs is the one true honest understanding of who we are. Piffle! With blind Christian faith as the only response to White's solipsistic nihilism, we have a very articulate and entertaining straw man. Throughout the movie I kept imagining worthwhile responses to White's claims, and felt thoroughly discouraged by the inadequacy of Black's dialogue.

I'm glad I saw this movie, but I cannot go along with the glowing perfect-score reviews dished out by my esteemed colleagues on this forum.
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professorial debate
SnoopyStyle21 August 2016
A professor (Tommy Lee Jones) tries to commit suicide by jumping in front of a train, "The Sunset Limited". Another man (Samuel L. Jackson) claims to be his guardian angel. The two men debate their beliefs in the professor's apartment. The professor insists on leaving the apartment and probably go to commit suicide. The other insists on following him and convince him to embrace God.

It's a two person play in a confined space. These are two great actors. The debate is constant and unabated. It feels more academic than personal. These characters are not necessarily flesh and blood. The writing is not natural enough and always feels like a play. It has the power of sincerity but lacks the feel of reality. This has the potential of a reveal but the play doesn't take advantage. This is an academic play but it doesn't actually breathe.
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