4.5 Budapest, one of the most beautiful city in the world, becomes a labyrinthine pandemonium which stirs audience's brain. Hellish long-take, suffocatingly sinister atmosphere, sublime shadows on the protagonist's face. All the elements proliferate its mystery like bacilli which corrupt our world tranquilliy. If highly manipulative, "Sunset" is a masterful enigma by a young Hungarian maestro, Nemes László.
From Klimov's greatest disciple, this is a genuinely cinematic dive into the WWI enigma. Filmed in draped colors and gloriously lit, Nemes' film puts the 'Saul' style to better effect. The 'causeless' evil erupts from impeccable surfaces, which turn the firm's name to a pun to denote the schizoid doubling of the European mind. Superbly acted, its hazy style immerses the viewer into the abyss prior to the trenches.
Even though Nemes is strolling along a similar path to his debut film then his sophomore feature is told with a completely different agenda. It's longevity keeps the viewer's gaze utterly enthralled as one has to endure along with the protagonist in the world of insecurity, disappointment, treachery and greed while constantly hoping that justice will prevail. A film for softies who aren't afraid of epic momentum.
When your visual style is to follow your protagonist so closely behind his/ her head, and eliminating the world around, like we're inside the character's head and all the action is subjective, the most brilliant idea might be to make a film about "hats". A film about the shape and figures of hats and how to compose them in images. About different kinds of "movement" inside the frame. And about light.
A young woman essentially sleepwalks through mounting violence. Nemes's shtick is more effective here than in Son of Saul, where a simple narrative structure frames a dazzling and disorienting walkabout through Budapest just before the start of WWI. Also, gorgeous hats!
Laszlo Nemes' cinematic instincts are strong, his narrative ones less so. Beautifully shot and sound designed though it is, the incoherence of the story is such that I found it impossible to care what happened to the protagonist. It's an incredibly bold and ambitious project from one of the most exciting filmmakers in the world, but the techniques that made Son of Saul a masterpiece prove to be its downfall.