Critic Reviews



Based on 20 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
There’s sadness and beauty in every frame.
It is difficult to find comparisons on a formal scale, and that the plot relies on a few reliable tropes does not distract from how clearly this is the work of a master.
Sprawling where “Son of Saul” was focused and frustrating where it packed a punch, Sunset is nonetheless an audacious step for a director who prefers immersion to exposition. It’s not easy, but it’ll get under your skin.
It’s a very mysterious and even bizarre film in many ways, shot in what is becoming Nemes’ signature style: long takes, a persistent closeup on the lead character’s face, and a shallow focus that allows the surrounding reality to intrude only intermittently.
Can a film be baffling and rewarding at the same time? Can a stimulating cinematic experience co-exist with the suspicion that the filmmaker has deliberately set out to frustrate the audience? For all who believe the answer to those questions can be ‘yes’, then Sunset (Napszállta), second film by Son of Saul director László Nemes provides a rich seam to explore.
Undeniably, Sunset is an impressive piece of filmmaking and from a technical point of view it stirs memories of the boldly shot Hungarian cinema revival of the Sixties.
The chaos is there but without the coherence necessary to balance sensorial turmoil with genuine meaning.
With a filmmaker as intelligent and controlled as Nemes, Sunset has the assurance that everything has a place and the confusion is intended. But even this has a paradoxical effect.
Ultimately, the chilly Sunset recreates a version of 1913 Budapest that crackles with life but lacks spirit and emotional connection. Nemes shows viewers the smoke and then the fire but provides no reason for them to care about the world as it burns.
László Nemes’s follow-up to Son of Saul simply feels like two films awkwardly affixed to one another.

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