‘Watch the Sunset’ MOVIE REVIEW: One Shot Aussie Thriller is Taut and Tense

Image credit: BarrLipp Films

Watch the Sunset, an Australian crime-drama made in one shot, takes the viewer on an emotionally charged ride through a man’s struggles to reconnect with his family due to his violent, troubled past.

Danny, played by co-director and co-writer Tristan Barr, is a man on the edge. The sprawling scenery, measured pacing and economic dialogue serves nicely to develop his anxiety and tension. With barely a word uttered in the first 15 minutes, it is unclear at the time what exactly is going on, but the delicate and deliberately ambiguous developments all point toward a troubled man tied to a troublesome situation.

Over time, we learn that Danny is desperate to reconnect his deeply damaged relationship with his ex-partner, Sally (Chelsea Zeller), and their daughter, Joey (Annabelle Williamson). He is passive yet unrelenting in his desperation to break down the barriers that Sally has ““ understandably ““ put up. Slowly, he chips away at her defences enough for them to engage in a civil, humoured discussion about their past, his desire to leave his toxic and dangerous lifestyle behind, and what the future may hold if she’ll permit him a final chance to save his family.

During their reparative chatter, Joey is taken by two dangerous looking-thugs and it looks like things will never be the same for this struggling family. It’s here where the effort placed in the pacing really shines, as the situation escalates to boiling-point hysteria in the blink of an eye. The build up is captured with panache.

Image credit: BarrLipp Films

Danny is now faced with the overwhelming task of facing his past, whilst dragging the woman he loves further into the chasm of blackness he was so desperate to escape from ““ all in the pursuit of saving their beloved child.

The “one shot” style certainly adds a positive and unique aspect to this film, and the story is interesting, believable and well-mapped out. The acting, unfortunately, is a little bit uneven and lacking, which takes the viewer temporarily out of the churning current of the story. That being said, the performance stumbles do not occur often enough to do any major damage to this mostly tense thrill ride.

At around 80 minutes in length, Watch the Sunset‘s greatest asset ““ in addition to the “one shot” element ““ is its tautness: it never overreaches or turns in directions it shouldn’t, and remains economical and focused in its objectives. Directors Tristan Barr & Michael Gosden know what they want to portray and how they want it portrayed.

Watch the Sunset is a solid feature, and suggests directors Barr & Gosden and production house BarrLipp Films have the talent and discipline to continue upward in the world of cinema. I’m intrigued to see what they deliver next.