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Sun Don't Shine2012

  • 3.6
Written and directed by actress/filmmaker Amy Seimetz , SUN DON'T SHINE follows Crystal (Kate Lyn Sheil) and her boyfriend Leo (Kentucker Audley) on a tense and mysterious road trip through the desolate yet hauntingly beautiful landscape of central Florida. From the outset, the purpose of their journey is unclear, and the motivations behind their heated altercations and shady errands are hazy, but sporadic moments of tenderness illuminate the loving bond between the two that exists underneath their overt tensions. As the couple travels up the Gulf Coast past an endless panorama of mangrove fields, trailer parks and cookie-cutter housing developments, the disturbing details of their excursion gradually begin to emerge, revealing Crystal's sinister past and the couple's troubling future. Filmed on location in the environs of Seimetz's hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, SUN DON'T SHINE is a subtly cryptic story driven by the powerful performances of its lead actors and its eerily poetic setting.

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"[U]nspools like a Fran├žoise Sagan novel: purposefully, enigmatically and with a raw emotional purity..." - Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times


3 members like this review

Stunning. Slow, but sure, and a nice underwater swim. Both of these actors are tremendous.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (28)

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top reviewer

This film has some truly beautiful and haunting shots. I also appreciated the metaphor of the mermaids as an ideal world (imagination and innocence) that is shattered by reality. However, I did not like any of the characters. I understand that the girl is supposed to be emotionally broken and disturbed, but her constant shrieking and clinging to her boyfriend annoyed me.

5 members like this review
98d4c4f6fde383c25da5aaa299b963a3?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0016
top reviewer

Stunning. Slow, but sure, and a nice underwater swim. Both of these actors are tremendous.

3 members like this review
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top reviewer

Cinematic style on a shoe string budget. Amy Seimetz proves to be as gifted a filmmaker as she is an actor. The performances are naturalistically realistic and this atmospheric little film is a disturbing experience that will haunt you long after it is over.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

This film gets you from the very opening scene. Its made like an old school classic mystery and actually allows you to use your imagination!!! Loved this film.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

It is human nature to want to delay inevitable fate. Crystal and Leo are on such a mission, whether they succeed is part of the mystery we find wrapped around them. This is a beautiful film, filled with lilting expressions of fantasy and backward journeys into their memories of a childhood. We are brought so close, at times, that we can feel their breath upon us, taste the liquor and the raw emotion that runs the range of agony, desperation and longing. So close...it would be better to turn away but yet impossible to run from this film. Must watch.

1 member likes this review

Well done. The acting is decent and the theme of helplessness constant throughout. The persistent use of telephoto cropping gets to be a bit too much and felt claustrophobic after a while...but perhaps this is the director's intention. As someone else mentions, the lead female character comes off clingy and a bit annoying. This makes it difficult to care about her but this film is so well done with so little resources it has to be appreciated.

1 member likes this review

A slow, soulful descent into fantastic self-destruction. I felt as helpless stuck in the film as the characters were in their situation. Beautiful shots, and overlays of rich colour helped to suck me in to the hot sticky florida summer. Perhaps a little slow, and certainly a telegraphed plot, but the acting and visual images carried this film far from the cliche it could have been.

1 member likes this review
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bep

Really great performances. A haunting, mysterious story. Elliptical editing. Feels very real.

1 member likes this review
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filmmaker

There's some fat that could have been cut. But has enough great moments to warrant at least one watch.

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top reviewer

This isn't what Central Florida looks like.

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top reviewer

This kept you wondering til the end( and beyond). Being from the South i had some prejudice toward this as I have known people like these that were depicted here. Thankfully i have moved beyond the tendencies of Crystal and Leo but their situation is trepidatious anyway!

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top reviewer

There's a high level B grade movie genre which is a out of control road movie driven by the presence of something unthinkable (and increasingly bad smelling) in the trunk. This movie combines the loaded truck with the impossibility of human communication. Characters talk and respond, but there is no insight to their motives or driving emotions. Relationships seem to have no depth. They don't understand themselves and others, and they are certainly uncomprehended by their traveling companion. Alex Cox's Repo Man (1984) may be the best example. The basic assumption becomes increasingly that the trunk contains something evil and out of control.

The Florida countryside is beautiful while being fetid. The female lead is fixated on carnival sites with swimmers dressed in fake mermaid costumes and breathing from garden hoses. These aren't beautiful, free or actually alive, but they are fascinating.

The film is often slow, with occasional speedy sequences which confirm your suspicions. The film has no beginning and not much middle. It does have the expected ending. This is a well written and directed feature, by Amy Seimetz.

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top reviewer

This is a very odd movie. I am not certain what it is really about. She is very infantile and we don't know why they have a body in the trunk..unless I missed something.

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top reviewer

i gave up on this film 3 times_but i think Kate Lyn Sheil is wonderful_it's beautifully filmed i hate the beginning but in the end i really liked it_even though i have no idea what happened _Leo is cool 2

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top reviewer

It was a nice tour of the South with a couple of somber characters, but it didn't truly grab my attention. If it was intended as noir it missed the mark. I think of the play of dark and light in the old noir films and cannot get that from a hot, sunlit southern scene.

I'll be honest, based on the reviews I wasn't expecting much going in - so I was pleasantly surprised when the film won my attention almost immediately. I loved the acting, the way the story was told, the color palette. It's not at all boring; quiet & subtle, sure, but every scene contributes to the characters' motivations and furthers the story. Really cool little indie noir.

Sun Don't Shine, the feature film directorial debut by hardworking and talented independent film actress Amy Seimetz, is a hazy, semi-trippy road movie that takes us through some of the backwaters and chintzy tourist towns of Florida. It tells the story of two lovers, Crystal and Leo, who are on the run from something, arguing and discussing their relationship as they crisscross the highways and sun baked roads in their 1990's era car. Crystal, played by Kate Lyn Sheil, seems to be like a once new and majestic porcelain doll who had the misfortune of being manhandled by sadistic children during its whole existence. Stress is biological time-travel, aging us at speeds that NASA can only understand with the most scientific of instruments. Crystal is also prone to fits of extreme jealousy and chastises her lover Leo (Kentucker Audley) for amorous hook-ups, probably both real and imagined. Leo is not above using casual physical and verbal abuse on Crystal, who seems to be a magnet for such behavior. When we first meet the two, they are throwing each other around in the marshes the way two children imitate a wrestling match between Bob Backlund and Superfly Snuka.

Seimetz gets to showcase her talents as both writer and director in this low-budget movie. The plot is something you have seen in those old black and white movies on late night television, or read in the great crime novels of the 1930's, 40's and 50's. Seimetz, however, doesn't focus on whatever crime has been committed and we only get the brief lurid details in a conversation between two characters. Instead, Seimetz the writer and director, shows how this event has affected the two and their relationship. This doesn't make it any less tense, as I kind of got the feeling that both Crystal and Leo were no strangers to violence and it was not something they were appalled by. People on the fringe only need a nudge to be shoved into the darkness and, sometimes, they aren't too resistant against the push. Giving in to what they may see as inevitable is sometimes easier than scraping by, living off the leftovers of regular citizens.

There is a particularly well shot and tense scene when a passerby (AJ Bowen) pulls off the highway to offer Crystal and Leo assistance, as their cranky and wheezing automobile refuses to drive unless it gets more water. Audley and Bowen play the scene very well and it enables the tension to build without the need of ADD editing or the swelling of ominous music as if a gilled monster with sharp claws was rising out of a bubbling swamp. Bowen's character is one of those over friendly guys you may meet on line at a store. He is the dude that feels like they have to tell you half their life story just because they let you cut in front of them. If this jerk's life was so interesting his bestselling bio would be sold next to the tabloid newspapers claiming Elvis was spotted flipping burgers in an Oregon greasy spoon. No thanks, guy. I appreciate the offer, but I will stay behind you and please, do me a favor, annoy the clown in front of you who doesn't understand that if you wipe your rear with the outside of your shorts you are supposed to wash them before you put them back on and hit K-Mart. You can see the tension on Audley's face as Bowen tries to assess the vehicle's situation, asking if there are jumper cables in the trunk because, you know, the same thing happened to him and he lost out on a real estate sale. You can almost feel the knots in Leo's stomach as he does his best to politely send Bowen away.

Kate Lyn Sheil gets her moments to shine as the used up, pushed around Crystal. When we first see her she is childlike, saying things and staring out the car window in silence the way a nine year old girl may do. Crystal admits that when people first meet her they think her stupid because she is quiet. However, we learn that this is not the case. Crystal is never going to split the atom in a science lab, but she is not a silent dullard relegated to watching daytime soaps as she draws pictures of Barney the Dinosaur on the backs of takeout menus. She is a battle scarred veteran of life's wars. Crystal is to be pitied, but her feelings of jealousy make her a threat to Leo and herself. Those we can sympathize with sometimes are the most dangerous of monsters.

The cinematography by Jay Keitel adds to the unorthodox structure of the picture. The movie seems to have been shot completely by hand held cameras. This can be a distraction sometimes, but there are enough inventive camera angles and shots that it keeps the audience off balance and interested. I especially like the scenes inside the car as they are driving and searching for answers as if they were located on a road map. The camera always seems to manage to pick up the sun and its harsh light shining on the two as if it wants to either investigate them or perhaps show them the way out of their mess. The sparse score by Ben Lovett sometimes seems to conjure up faint memories of Carl Orff's Gassenhauer used in Malick's Badlands.

I didn't find the film to be completely free of faults. It runs barely 90 minutes and it still drags in certain parts as it seems they make pit stops simply to have one more disjointed conversation about their relationship and the predicament they find themselves in and who is to blame. I found myself thinking that I would just like them to stop mumbling to each other and get to where they need to be. I think this is a minor quibble and Seimetz should be commended for writing and directing a film that makes an oft told story seem fresh and new. I will eagerly await the next film she directs.

The best part is when Crystal gets slapped!

Wanted to turn it off after the first 10 minutes . Watched till the end hoping it would improve,

Slow slow moving - hated both actors

Disturbing story -waste of my time .

Kate Lyn Sheil's performance was boiling and unhinged. Kentucker Audley's character thinks he is in control of the situation, and in control of her, but he really never is, and it's kind of a fascinating descent into hellish self-destruction, even as it is also intensely romantic in that gothic kind of way. Will be interesting to see what else Amy Seimetz ends up doing.

LOVED IT!

bizzare

Somewhat predictable and slow.

why did they waste the time making this film. it made no sense to me.

Ididnt like it Iwas strang

I loved everything about this film...photography, acting and direction was first class..One of FANdors best offerings!!

Excellent debut. Felt like a random issue of the comic Stray Bullets, which is a giant compliment coming from me.

Not bad, a little slow maybe. But it does draw you in. And holds your attention. Great acting. And behind every great actor is a great director. So kudos to the cast and the director.