Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Tommy Lee Jones
Directed by: Tommy Lee Jones
Synopsis: Two men in an apartment with their opposing beliefs.
This made for HBO movie, based on the play by Cormac McCarthy (No Country For Old Men, The Road) was a really pleasant surprise. It is a movie that simply features two men, sat at a table talking. In that respect it is similar, and will appeal to fans of, Richard Linklater’s Sunset trilogy. If you like hearing intelligent conversation and some fantastic acting then seek this out.
Both Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson are on top, scenery munching form here. They trade words at a fairly rapid pace about everything from religion to jail house stories and despite sounding boring, is really rather watchable. In fact, I could have happily sat there for another hour and half watching them conversation it out together.
The story appears to go that Tommy Lee Jones, a professor, was stopped from jumping in front of a subway train (here known as The Sunset Limited) by Samuel L. Jackson’s ex-con. The action starts, not in the subway, but back at Jackson’s apartment, with the two men sat at a table. Jackson is a religious man, Jones is not. The whole movie is, basically about black and white, belief or not belief, right or wrong. For instance, Jackson, a black man, is dressed in a white top. Jones, a white man, is dressed in a black top. One drinks black coffee from a white mug, the other white coffee from a black mug. You see? Black and white. The film poses questions from both sides of the religious fence and gives both men plenty to think about.
The dialogue is fantastic as is to be expected from Cormac McCarthy. Funnily enough, it was what undid him in The Counselor. A lot of the kind of dialogue found in this play was the kind of stuff that made The Counselor almost unwatchable. It just goes to show that, within the right context it can sound amazing.
I imagine, if you were a more intelligent person than me that you could read all sorts into this movie, and find hidden meaning in each character and their dialogue. Was it the Devil and God having a conversation? Was Jackson an angel sent from God? Does it matter? Not really. I’m not a religious man by any stretch but I thought this movie was pure gold and deserves a far wider audience.