EIFF 2012: Sun Don't Shine
Amy Seimetz's delightfully oblique road-movie neatly sidesteps any potential fears of yet another generic lo-fi couple-with-issues indie. Crystal (Kate Lyn Sheil) and boyfriend Leo (Kentucker Audley) are travelling (escaping?) to the Everglades, bickering and fighting along the way as he (desperately striving to be stoic and single-minded) attempts to contain and pacify an emotionally damaged and confused partner. What they are speeding towards, and why, are revealed in staccato expository conversations, although details remain determinedly ambiguous. Suffice to say, there is a problem with something in the trunk that can't be fixed with a simple MOT.
A gritty yet dreamy aesthetic simultaneously oozes melancholia and tension; Seimetz captures Florida itself like a suffocating bed of oppression – a humid and stark cauldron cleverly mirroring the simmering intimacy of the central pair. An eerily bleak score compliments the sense of disquiet, yet the success of the film lies in its two fine central performances. Audley is well cast as a schmuck in over his head, forever willing his mental cogs to react to an increasingly doomed scenario; we've seen this character before, but rarely played with such quiet despair. Most impressive, however, is a compellingly unhinged performance by Sheil, lending her character guarded pathos and a genuine sense of unpredictability. Her waif-like naivety masks a feral psychosexual instinct that lingers in the memory long after the final reel of this impressive debut. [Nicholas Green]