The Sunset Limited [Blu-ray] Tommy Lee Jones

The Sunset Limited [Blu-ray] Tommy Lee Jones
"If people could see the world for what it truly is, see their lives for what they truly are without dreams and illusions, I don't believe they could offer the first reason why they should not elect to die as soon as possible. I don't believe in God. Can't you understand that?" Concisely, this quote sums up the perspective of an atheist professor known only by his skin colour, White (Tommy Lee Jones), in the one-room conversation piece, The Sunset Limited. Based on the Cormac McCarthy play, or protracted dialogue, rather, the action takes place in the rundown apartment of Black (Samuel L. Jackson), an evangelical ex-convict that has taken it upon himself to save White after a failed suicide attempt. With thinly veiled allusions to spiritual performance, with extensive discussions about the Garden of Eden and the evil of knowledge, the two discuss the relevance of the Bible and other significant cultural texts as defining mass ideologies and shaping our collective. Black states that he knows only the Bible and its teachings, which then leads to discussion about its admonitory, guiding purpose: shaping stories about the many paths one shouldn't take. White suggests that his eventual fall from delusion stems from the knowledge and experience that human life is sustained by delusion and false hope, which, in his case, was held together only by the tether of cultural texts and art, something that proved flimsy and sadly irrelevant in his later years. Their exchanges tend towards condescension, as Black mocks White's sense of superiority and rightness. He never acknowledges the implicit irony of this while trying to change the worldview of an atheist man who contrarily is perfectly fine with others having different perspectives. The arguments tend towards insularity with overly simplistic beliefs, which is the standard for McCarthy, but the evolution does prove engaging nonetheless. While not nearly as complex a look at rationale self-annihilation as Marsha Norman's thematically similar 'night, Mother, this cleverly written little story provides a nice introduction to existential plight. Both actors dive into their respective roles, which is clearly the priority for Jones, whose direction isn't quite nuanced or perceptive enough to sustain an entire feature in a single location. The commentary track included with the Blu-Ray features him talking mostly about framing and set-up, with Jackson occasionally agreeing, while McCarthy stays silent. There's also a brief "Making of" included with the Blu-Ray that reiterates the approach to adapting a single conversation to film. (Warner)