Before Sunset

Movie Review #639

before_sunset

Studio: Warner Independent Pictures (WIP) – Castle Rock Entertainment – Detour Filmproduction
Distributor: Warner Independent Pictures (WIP) – Warner Bros.
Country: USA
Spoken Languages: English – French

Directed by Richard Linklater. Produced by Richard Linklater and Anne Walker-McBay. Screenplay by Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke. Story by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan. Characters by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan.

Rated R by the MPAA, for language and sexual references. Runs 1 hour, 20 minutes. Premiered at Berlin Internatonal Film Festival on February 10, 2004; at Vail Film Festival on April 3, 2004; and at Los Angeles Film Festival on June 23, 2004. Limited release in the USA on July 2, 2004.

Starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

Cinemaniac Reviews three stars

What to say about “Before Sunset” depends on one’s comparison to “Before Sunrise”. Neither is a bad film, and as far as production, this second entry is superior (i.e. bigger budget, even sharper cinematography, several more extras). But “Sunset” has one fatal flaw that appears around the clock. The characters are reunited, nine years later, at a Parisian bookstore where Jesse (Ethan Hawke) is selling his book. Whereas the first movie introduced the philosophy of presentism to structure a (more consistent) “Harry and Sally” relationship, this movie believes that what is in the past is what exists. Or what they want to exist again, desperately. Regardless, the whole setup is pretty much the same as “Sunrise”, a fine way of writing a sequel. The problem is they can’t stop reminiscing about what happened in “Sunrise”.

This is considering everything else that has happened in the nine years since they’ve seen each other. (A possible spoiler for those who haven’t seen “Before Sunrise”, but then again, it functions as an entire trilogy.) Those are the other things they talk about while walking through the city of Paris, before Jesse boards a plane for work. Céline hasn’t had much to do. She’s read Jesse’s book, and it changed her life at least half as much as their one-night stand did from nearly a decade before. Neither can believe it’s been that long. She’s married to another man, with two daughters. Jesse has written his book, and worked hard at it (especially since it’s about their one-night stand). Other than that, he’s gotten married and had a son.

“Before Sunset” is far more eventful than those nine years, and while it should be much more eventful, it’s difficult to notice. The screenplay is even better than last time, particularly the dialogue. It’s what excuses the lack of plot, and also what bridges the gap between “Before Sunrise” and “Before Midnight”. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy co-wrote, which, in conjunction with their superb acting, pretty much transforms them into their characters at this point. The conversations are constant but engrossing, and perhaps realistic, now that the movie’s locked into real time. By the time the movie’s over, we’ve been left with a catharsis that, although not as atmospheric, leaves us hanging for what is to come.

About these ads

  1. Good review. Just a tad bit better than the first, if only because the story’s emotions and ideas have been heightened to extraordinary amounts.

  2. I love both Sunrise and Sunset, but have always thought the first to be clearly superior — and yet most people seem to disagree. Glad to find I’m not alone!

  3. Nice review. Although it does “leave us hanging for what is to come”, I think it’s still a fantastic movie and almost as good as the first.

    • It flew by for me, as if it were 20 minutes, not 80. Since the first and third are all above the average running time, and there’s perhaps more talking here since it’s in real time, I have to conclude that it’s filler. Which wasn’t a problem for me (could be for some); what was, was that it spends SO MUCH time catching us up.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >




Your thoughts below:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


  • Welcome!

    CINEMANIAC REVIEWS
  • ★★★★ = classic
    ★★★½ = excellent
    ★★★ = good
    ★★½ = acceptable
    ★★ = fair
    ★½ = poor
    ★ = pathetic
    ½ = trash
    0 = worthless

  • COMING SOON

    All Is Lost
    August: Osage County
    Deconstructing Harry
    Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex * but Were Afraid to Ask
    The Fountain
    Husbands and Wives
    Inside Llewyn Davis
    The Longest Day
    ...and more

  • Quick Recommendations

    No film is recommendable to everyone, because if it strongly appeals to many audiences, it's going to be poorly received by at least one audience. These 25 classics, however, I would recommend to eight and a half, if not nine in every ten people.

    2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

    BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN

    BEFORE SUNRISE

    BEFORE SUNSET

    BEFORE MIDNIGHT

    THE BIG LEBOWSKI

    BLUE VELVET

    THE BIRTH OF A NATION; OR THE CLANSMAN

    CITIZEN KANE

    CITY LIGHTS: A COMEDY ROMANCE IN PANTOMIME

    DAVID LEAN'S FILM OF DOCTOR ZHIVAGO

    EYES WIDE SHUT

    FIGHT CLUB

    GOODFELLAS

    THE GRADUATE

    KILL BILL: VOL. 1

    KILL BILL: VOL. 2

    MARIO PUZO'S THE GODFATHER

    MARIO PUZO'S THE GODFATHER: PART II

    MARIO PUZO'S THE GODFATHER: PART III

    MATCH POINT

    PULP FICTION

    REQUIEM FOR A DREAM

    THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED

  • Don't like coming here all the time? Not a problem: we can come to you. Enter your email address to follow the blog and receive notifications of new reviews by email.

    Join 1,173 other followers

  • Blog Stats

    • 65,151 hits

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,173 other followers

%d bloggers like this: