Rare jewel in the wilderness of fast-food movies. The classy, elegant and masterful adaptation in Terrence Davies` "Sunset Song" takes your heart and soul to a two hour journey of "Why you have to watch the classics in Cinema". It`s a rare spirit you would hardly find in any places of today`s cinema.
Watching the master Terence Davis tackling the challenge of a romantic epic that functions as a melancholic elegy for the end of an era seemed like the perfect recipe for something sublime. Sadly, the reality of it is far from such glories. While the cinematography is gorgeous, the narrative and dramatic execution are impossibly stilted with the overall effect being numbingly tedious when it’s not being suffocating.
Davies has previously made some of the finest British film of all time ('Distant Voices', the trilogy) but his work has always veered close to the melodramatic and leaps with full abandon into it here. The film is painterly composed with warm images from d.p. Michael McDonough which hold the interest throughout but the patience is fully tested by the characterizations and a very miscast leading lady; Agyness Deyn.
This is a magnificent, thoroughly inhabitable Davies. He is as close a thing to a sure thing available in British cinema, but to ignore that he brings a new palate to the easel each go-round is to be congenitally indisposed to Heritage, and to go in already asleep. Agyness Deyn is a dynamo. Game changer. Watch her launch. Her third person voice-over is total genius. I want to merge w/ this movie and dissolve.
Despite certain narrative issues, Sunset Song is yet another gorgeously realized Davies film boasting exceptional cinematography, a lyrical pace, and some of his best lighting to date. It has been underrated by critics choosing to compare it to Distant Voices, Still Lives, which is a fair perspective, but judged on its own merits, Sunset Song is a great film, even if, admittedly, lesser Davies. 83/100 - Great.
I have to be honest: the more the film went on, the less of a point it seemed to have. The plots and characters are extremely typical of these period dramas, the second half is loaded (and I mean LOADED) with padding, and the protagonist becomes less and less interesting as things progress. It's a two-star film, elevated to three only because of the acting and cinematography.