Customer Reviews


184 Reviews
5 star:
 (96)
4 star:
 (37)
3 star:
 (21)
2 star:
 (11)
1 star:
 (19)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cerebral And Intimate Chamber Piece--This Existential Drama Is A Theater Lover's Dream
"The Sunset Limited" is a theater lover's dream! This HBO production takes the brilliant Cormac McCarthy's existential treatise about life and faith and adapts it with precision to the small screen. If, however, you are NOT a theater fan and are coming into this film blindly--I do think it's quite important that you know what you're getting into. This is a two person...
Published on February 14, 2011 by K. Harris

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'd give 3.5 if I could
Great acting, heady ideas. It ends up being a bit too simple, though. The dialogue between the two characters is a dialectic in the Socratic Dialogue mold, but rather than leave matters gray and open to interpretation, the play ends up making the decision for the audience, which is a disappointment.
Published 3 months ago by Lali Kagan


‹ Previous | 1 219 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cerebral And Intimate Chamber Piece--This Existential Drama Is A Theater Lover's Dream, February 14, 2011
This review is from: The Sunset Limited (DVD)
"The Sunset Limited" is a theater lover's dream! This HBO production takes the brilliant Cormac McCarthy's existential treatise about life and faith and adapts it with precision to the small screen. If, however, you are NOT a theater fan and are coming into this film blindly--I do think it's quite important that you know what you're getting into. This is a two person dialogue--that's it! For just under ninety minutes, two men sit in a shabby one room apartment and discuss the philosophical nature of man's reality. With a heavy reliance on religion and man's obligation to one another, "The Sunset Limited" unfolds with a surprising urgency and even poetry. It might not sound like thrilling entertainment but McCarthy's words filtered through the estimable talents of Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel Jackson make this a can't miss proposition for adult viewers. It is for lovers of word and thought--and, indeed, it's not for everyone. But it is a great way to get a prestigious theater piece to an audience that might not otherwise have the opportunity of enjoying it.

So, for that, we've got to thank HBO (the undisputed leader in TV movie productions) and Tommy Lee Jones who also takes a producer and the directing credit for this intimate work. Set in Jackson's apartment, "The Sunset Limited" unravels in real time in the aftermath of an incident at the local train station. Jackson attempts to engage Jones in a discussion about what happened as well as keeping him safe from further harm. A former convict, Jackson's real life stories are filled with harrowing details and his redemption provides ample evidence of a greater good. Jones, an intellectual with a more pragmatic worldview, spars back with an elaborate cynicism. In this contest of words, will Jones embrace the notion that perhaps life has more to offer if only he's willing to accept it? Or will Jackson start to doubt his own convictions in view of his new friend's influence?

I know my presentation of McCarthy's play might sound a bit dry--but make no mistake, "The Sunset Limited" is also filled with great warmth and unexpected humor. Jones is stilted and disaffected, making the most of the more uptight role. It is underplayed to perfection. He all but gives the stage to the more showy Jackson. This is, without a doubt, one of the meatier roles that Jackson has sunk his teeth into in recent years--and his relish is obvious. He elicits the piece's biggest laughs and tells its most vivid stories--it is a riveting performance. The devastating climax arrives courtesy of Jackson who just might have met his match with the intrepid and stubborn Jones. A cerebral and intimate chamber piece, I reiterate that this film will not be embraced by everyone! However, if the idea of seeing the work of one of our greatest writers performed by two acting powerhouses appeals to you--what's not to appreciate? KGHarris, 2/11.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concerning a Man's Soul, April 2, 2011
This review is from: The Sunset Limited (DVD)
Sunset Limited is a new HBO film that is located entirely in a dirty studio apartment in New York. Only two characters are presented in the film and their names are Black and White. One man, White, has decided that he is going to kill himself and the other is attempting to talk him out of it. Tommy Lee Jones plays White, the man who attempted to commit suicide by leaping into a train, and the character Black is played by Samuel L Jackson, who saved White from being hit by the train. The theme of the movie is Black trying to find out what is so bad that would make the intelligent character, White, end his life and how Black can keep White from trying to do it again as soon as he leaves the apartment.
The entire movie takes place inside Black's apartment as he tries to argue White into choosing life.

For 90 minutes they have a theological debate about God and their purpose on this earth. The debates are powerful and the conversations moving. Sunset limited makes up for the fact that it consists of no beautiful panoramic screen shots and channels all of its artistic energy into enhancing the script. The director chooses to set the scene with words of poetry rather than with colorful images. The decision to paint the movie through words rather than pictures is very rare and ends up adding a fantastic element to the Sunset Limited.

An incredibly dark tale but a very worthwhile film to watch.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black & White, February 13, 2011
This review is from: The Sunset Limited (DVD)
I just watched The Sunset Limited last night. ABSOLUTELY one of the best movies/plays I have seen in the past 10 years. The quality of the acting and interacting, as well as movement and camera angles between Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson is great to see. The dialogue is fresh, real, and sensitive to both sides - hence, "Black" & "White."

The camera angles in the last few moments and the last phrase uttered by "Black" is powerfully and dramatically well done.

Doug Flor
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film that truly makes you think!, September 19, 2011
This review is from: The Sunset Limited (DVD)
Wow, This is a very deep and intellectual film! I'm a minister, andI was so drawn in, so mesmerized by the dialogue and the intensity of Black and White. At first, I really thought that every person in the congregation I minister to should watch this film....... However, as I began to look further at reviews and what other's thought, I now think this film probably needs to be viewed with some caution. This could confuse some people and actually draw some folks into despair. Despair....... (WARNING: MY POST FROM HERE FORWARD CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!) that's ultimately the gospel White is preaching. There was a part of my soul that could identify and understand his points. I think most humans have felt those moments at times in their lives. But, there was one thing White said that really stood out to me. It was something I wish Black would have caught on to. He kept asking God for the words..... I have no idea, if this will be helpful to those of you who have posted on this, but this was my thought. White says, he wants the "peace of darkness." But, I don't believe there is ANY peace in darkness! Think about it, when you walk into a dark, unfamiliar room, the first thing you want to do is turn on a light! If not you may stub your toe, walk into a door, or worse someone or something could be lying in wait. Darkness does not provide peace! In truth, in provides more despair! So White was only going to go from despair to true despair! From darkness to eternal darkness. Of course this is my belief, and you are free to disagree with it. But I have definitely done my share of soul searching and in16 years of ministry have stared deep DARK DESPAIR in the face. And these words I tell you about darkness are not just what I think. But I believe it is the TRUTH. We live in a world that doesn't believe in truth much anymore. But I wholeheartedly believe in it. God Is Truth. God Is Love. And God is LIGHT. These were things I found comfort in at the end of this film. I have to believe in an existence that contains REAL truth. Quite honestly, I just can't understand how anyone can believe in anything else. But, obviously White did. And I'm sure to some, White made a lot of sense. For those, I pray as Black did that they too can someday, come into the Light. Thanks for reading my comment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theatre can actually be great! (Maybe without playwrights), March 8, 2011
This review is from: The Sunset Limited (DVD)
The Sunset Limited is a brilliantly written two-character play (and two-character plays are very hard to create well). I had given up on the idea of 'great' plays; maybe that's because they are written primarily by playwrights. The Sunset Limited changed my mind. Who would have thought Blood Meridian author McCarthy could get so minimal in 'scope' but so 'haiku-ish' in writing. Although maybe 'The Road' (the book, not the movie) is an indication. Here's a few simple reasons why I loved this work(based on the Jackson/Jones production).

First the dialogue is perfect in terms of language, rhythm, and expression of 'voice.' Second, the rhythms of the play are masterfully composed. Next, the play operates on an existential level (two 'real' men in a room) aesthetic, and meaning/theme/message. Finally, the characters are interesting and fascinating. All that together is not easy.

Beckett was a master of the well-composed play and the exploration of meaning. He did it within a rarified world that eschewed 'naturalistic' dialogue. Checkhov got the 'naturalistic' part, the meaningful part, the characterization part. But often his characters are plain dull (although he may have intended it that way). Albee is a bit weak in the meaning area (P. Roth said he is as profound as Guy de Maupassant).

Ironically (or maybe not), The Sunset Limited seems a bit closer in genre to the teleplays that were produced in the so-called 'golden age' of TV. Small cast, small environment, and hence limited physical action. With the theatre as relevant a cultural force as blacksmiths are to transportation, it would be great if this work inspires another 'golden age.' Well, I can dream, can't I?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely wonderful, March 9, 2011
This review is from: The Sunset Limited (DVD)
This is one of the most moving presentations that I have ever seen, and I am three score and seventeen years young. A must see.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a duet in Black and White, February 17, 2011
This review is from: The Sunset Limited (DVD)
HBO films who did the Golden Globe/emmy winning Temple Grandin does it again with a theater piece brought to film. The Sunset Limited is one of those pieces of theater that PBS used to run. It is a two character, one set play where the special effects come from the actors themselves

Oscar Winning Actor Tommy Lee Jones also puts on the director's cap for this production. He portrays a professor who tries to commit suicide on his birthday by stepping in front of the Sunset Limited train.

He is saved by ex con on his way to work, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson is fulled with stories of life and truth. They both come back to Jackson one room apartment

Cormac McCathy's play is something that does not need a large fanfare. It is an exercise is great acting. Jones and Jackson makes the play a human chess board of emotions. It also take the viewer with them. This play does not breal doen into class and what someone has. Ot does break down to what each man brings to the table.

Jones downplays his character a lot, giving Jackson the upper hand to lead in this verbal duet. Jackson never upstages Jones. However Jones seem like Jackson's straight man. The one room makes this large character play more smaller and intimate. This is one of those plays where the viewer are voyagers looking inro the fourth wall.

Many years ago, there was a film calledMy Dinner with Andre (The Criterion Collection). This films seem move like a racial version of this film. The action lies within the verbal action of the dialog

If I had my way, they both should win Emmy Gold. Jones for Direction. Jackson for acting...and the ones who watch this exercise in intelligent goes to the watch of this film

So when it is available on DVD, this is the one to get

Bennet Pomerantz
AUDIOWORLD
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy of life; meaning or meaningless, April 13, 2011
By 
C. B Collins Jr. (Atlanta, GA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Sunset Limited (DVD)
Having Samuel L Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones play the roles of Black and White, the two main characters in The Sunset Limited, is certainly bringing two outstanding talents together to provide this play with the best possible conditions for success. It is a bleak picture these two actors paint as they perform the minimalistic script of Cormac McCarthy. This play is very different from the novels of McCarthy for in the film dialogue is central whereas in his novels, dialogue is often extremely minimal whereas the plot is full of physical action and the writing is full of poetic descriptions of landscape. The play contrasts the faith of an ex-convict black man with the existential despair of a white college professor. The despair of the college professor however is not about personal conditions or circumstances but rather is complete despair around the condition of human life and human potential and human nature. The play is basically a dialogue between these two characters in a spare one room in a public housing project where the ex-convict lives. McCarthy is very poetic, even in dialogue that is philosophically charged. Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel Jackson make the dialogue come alive. After seeing the film, I suggest you reflect on who gets all the good lines. In my opinion, Black, the man of faith and human resiliency is naturally appealing and his language is extremely colorful. On the other hand, as a man who has just attempted suicide, White, is restrained and depressed. His world view is very dark, considering that he is not really committing suicide due to personal circumstances but due to the fact that humanity is so worthless and life for all humans is meaningless. Black tries to confront these concepts throughout the play. In the same way that McCarthy's novels are not for every reader, this play with its philosophical armature clearly visible may not be for every viewer. However it is stimulating to see two fine actors give outstanding performances of this script and pull out every bit of pathos from the philosophical dialogue.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, simple but superb cinema, from beginning to end..., February 22, 2011
By 
Thomas Glebe (Pittsburgh, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Sunset Limited (DVD)
A long time ago, in a world far far away, I saw this extremely simple film called "My Dinner With Andre." That feature-length movie consisted of about 95 percent just two men talking, at a dinner table. I recently saw this again on cable, at least a couple of decades since I had seen it last, and it was just as good as I had remembered it. Maybe even better. I was enchanted enough with it, then and today, that it came up repeatedly in an hours long discussion about "everything" (including films that we loved), I had with my brother (who had seen it) and my nephew (who had not) during the recent holidaze. I even purchased and sent the DVD to my bro, since he, like me, hadn't seen it for so long, but had fond memories of it.

I remember my brother and me trying to explain to my nephew how great the film was, because it was so simple, two people in a conversation, and yet it was so good BECAUSE it was so minimalist and basic. I never really thought I would have seen such a similar and equally great film, until I caught the Sunset Limited, on HBO, and like "Andre," this has become in short time, one of my favorite "Hollywood/Studio" produced films of all time. It is nothing short of brilliant. But a caveat that spoilers lay ahead...

This work, about an hour and a half long, is all about two aging men, one black, one white (and they are labeled as such in the credits), simply talking, about many things, but mainly about belief and resulting hope, and knowledge and resulting suicidal depression. There is little introduction to the proceedings except to make it clear that one day (night in fact), his "birthday" in point of fact, a white man (Tommy Lee Jones), decided to kill himself by jumping in front of a Harlem subway train, but was pulled from eternal death by another man, black (Samuel L. Jackson), although racial issues are only a side diversion here. More to the essence, seems there was this highly educated but totally depressed and hopeless college professor who tried to end it all, but was "saved" in real life, at the last moment, by an ex-con, street-wise man roughly his own age, who was and is, unlike the man he saved, a Bible-believing "christian." One who considered the suicidal man his brother, and saw as his divine duty that of somehow talking his new friend out of killing himself, if even temporarily.

Now, while all of that might not make much sense at first, the genius of this film is that this whole concept is detailed and elaborated upon throughout in a constantly interesting manner, and it doesn't take that long to get things rolling. Some movies grab you from the beginning, either greatly or even lukewarm, but most always seem these days to make some rather simple but powerful concepts, just unclear enough for awhile to leave the viewer hanging on, until the whole thing makes some sort of enjoyable or at least understandable sense. Same here in a way, but not really. Within less than ten minutes, you're either going to love this and look forward to every following scene and word, or not. It is the former with this, for me at least. I was hooked strongly early on, and I suspect most viewers will be or have already been as well.

Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson turn in almost perfect performances. Jones, who is the athiest/agnostic, and just simply tires of life and wishes for nothing more than eternal, peaceful nothingness and darkness and an escape from his lifelong pains, plays it all with subtle yet convincing and obvious depression. Jackson, more world-wise, and more seemingly "happy" than the man he rescued from certain death, lives in his own kind of hell (his real environment and surroundings) and his transformation till the end into something a little bit different, is as convincing and compelling as is his denial of said fact from the start.

There are so many philosophical, religious, and real-life ideas thrown about, almost in every single line of this play turned into a film, that I think I would do more harm than good in going into much more detail than I have already. And I am limited by space and word count here anyway. Needless to say, this is a simple film which makes the enlightened viewer, whether they agree more with the suicidal professor or the bible thumping savior, question many, many ideas, beliefs, and convictions, and the whole thing is detailed throughout with some very powerful background sounds, musical phrases, and atmospheric touches throughout, which only add to how really great this production is.

I was raised a strict Catholic until the age of reason (in my case about age 12 or 13), identify much stronger with Jones' character and beliefs than that of Jackson's, and I've actually never really looked back despite my own similar periods of suicidal despair, doubts and reaching out for any glimmer of hope. Although the beauty of this particular movie is that it gives almost equal and convincing respect to both belief systems (and everything in between), and ways of coping with (and/or ending) this difficult little thing called "living."

The end is quite existential, even if one doesn't really understand what that means exactly. And while coming to the finish, I was convinced it was all going to turn out one way or another, it didn't. And only led to further thought and reflection, and repeated viewings. If you can get into this, and I pity the fool who can't, this is a brilliant example of a simple parable about life and death, and all things relative to both, translated with tons of modern day sights and sounds, and I recommend everybody experience it at least once. At the very least, this proves that it doesn't take big budgets or special production effects to produce for and convey to the potential viewer, something at the same time, very down to earth, and very "divine."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An utterly captivating, thoughtful, lingering film., February 8, 2012
Based on the play by Cormac McCarthy, and directed with a sure-handedness by Tommy Lee Jones, THE SUNSET LIMITED follows the conversation between two men: White, who has just attempted suicide, and Black, who has rescued White and brought him back to his apartment. Black is convinced that White can be saved by embracing the hope of Jesus; White is convinced the world is empty and filled with shadows.

McCarthy's play, riveting though it is, suffers that inevitable fate of all published plays: it is meant to be performed, not read. The film gives the play that extra spark, elevating it to a true work of art. Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson give their best performances in years; Jones is subtle and quiet, Jackson over-the-top and enthusiastic. They chew through McCarthy's dialogue, adding the emotional flair necessary to convey the depth of these themes. As a director, Jones knows how to frame a shot, how to linger, how to cut away.

This isn't a film for everyone; surely you know that by now. It has a cast of two, and is set entirely in a one-room apartment. THE SUNSET LIMITED is a film with plenty of questions, and not one single answer. It stands as proof of the genius that can happen when you give tow great actors an incredible script, put them together on a small stage, and let them loose.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 219 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Sunset Limited
The Sunset Limited by Tommy Lee Jones (DVD - 2012)
$19.97 $13.46
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.