Sun Don’t Shine (2012)

92% – Critics
49% – Audience

Sun Don’t Shine Storyline

“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. As the couple travels up the Gulf Coast the disturbing details of their excursion gradually begin to emerge, revealing Crystal’s sinister past and the couple’s troubling future.—Amy Seimetz

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Sun Don’t Shine Movie Reviews

Don’t Bother

There have been a number of movies over the years about a spouse that wants to dispose of his or her partner. Some have been pretty good, this is not one them

Sun Don’t Shine – great story about a bad time.

one of the things that keeps the independent filmmaking scene respectable is the fact that someone can take an idea and put it directly onto the screen. there’s little to no outside influence dictating the story and ideas someone wants to share with other people. Amy Seimetz’s Sun Don’t Shine truly feels like that type of film.

for me personally, i enjoy watching movies from time to time that don’t necessarily follow the standard in the film storytelling equation: dilemma- turns to solution- turns to ending. this is the kind of story where you don’t really have any idea how it’s going to end up. in fact, you don’t really want it to precisely end in any certain way. leaving you still thinking about the story continuing after the physical film is over.

it reminds me of overhearing a conversation between strangers passing you on the street. you missed the setup of what’s going on, but you happen to catch the peak of the story where things go terribly wrong for people you will never know. you hear just enough of certain details that sets your mind wondering what the before and after could have been. eventually finding yourself mapping out your own scenario(s). it doesn’t matter if they’re good or bad, that brief moment sticks with you long afterward.

i thought Sun Don’t Shine was fantastic. it’s not something i would run to everyone i know and tell them to stop what they’re doing and watch this movie. typically, movies that appeal to the masses are the ones that have less of a personal feel to them. this is something that would appeal to people who enjoy a glimpse of how things are for strangers regardless of familiarity to the story. and it’s that type of freedom in independent filmmaking that always makes for a good movie.

Terrific, subdued indie thriller

Thrillers scarcely get more “indie” than this. ‘Sun don’t shine’ is considerably understated, painting over even the most emotionally vibrant instances with a muted tone to one degree or another. This is reflected in grainy, lo-fi cinematography, modest sound design, and a brooding (and enticing) score that’s employed only very sparingly. The picture consistently zeroes in on the troubled and even despondent states of Leo, Crystal, and their relationship, and Kate Lyn Sheil and Kentucker Audley’s performances pointedly amplify that malaise at specific charged moments – and still the characters and scene writing are defined by that same low-key, distressed air.

Why, though the narrative content fits into the “thriller” mold, this movie rather declines the typical sense of robust urgency. There’s dark tension and suspense simmering on the edges of the story as it’s slowly teased out and tied together, stemming as much from the course of events as from the characters’ ponderous difficulties. Yet just as much if not more time is spent exhibiting backstory through flashbacks or clever voiceovers, or focusing concretely on a character as a whirlwind of emotion swirls behind their quietly distraught expressions. Even as a definite sorry tale unfolds, to at least the same extent if not more so ‘Sun don’t shine’ is about the raw feelings that follow from the situation Leo and Crystal find themselves in, and their stumbling efforts to gain control over circumstances they’re wholly unprepared for.

I honestly kind of love this. Amy Seimetz illustrates wonderfully capable direction in helming the production and patching together the seemingly loose tapestry. To that point as well, all due commendations to her and David Lowery for smart editing and sequencing that helps the feature to tread familiar territory, but on a path that feels all its own. And Seimetz’s screenplay is a small marvel: I wouldn’t go so far as to call ‘Sun don’t shine’ a psychological thriller, but the characters, dialogue, narrative, and scene writing are all carefully penned to accentuate that to whatever degree we’re watching the story from the outside looking in, we’re also getting substantial perspective from the inside looking out. There’s a delicate balance in the writing, not least of all as Crystal and Leo also air their relationship problems and personal anxieties as though they weren’t wrapped up in sordid business at this very moment. It’s a tough road Seimetz chose, and I could understand that the result may not come across as a success to all, but at least for my part I think the amalgamation is fantastic.

And with that, Lyn Sheil and Audley’s portrayals arguably ride a fine line between overwrought and underwhelming. Yet their roles reflect two people who are deer in the proverbial headlights, and flailing in their effort to seize control of their circumstances. I think the parts are deceptively complex – and that the leads demonstrate gratifying dexterity in navigating the material. There’s welcome nuance, range, and physicality in their performances, bringing the wayward couple to life with a believable, realist spectrum of reactions. This was one aspect of the movie that stuck out to me at varying points as testing the limits of my patience, but it’s folded so well into all else the picture represents that the more I think on it, the more I’m pleased as a movie-goer.

That this so heavily downplays almost every beat may make it hard to engage with for some viewers; I understand, and I’d probably have had the same response at one time. But between Seimetz’s writing and direction, Lyn Sheil and Audley’s acting, and the contributions of all others involved, I think the strengths of this little sleeper far outweigh any subjective deficiencies. Based on this alone I’m keen seeing more features from Seimetz and Lyn Sheil in particular, and I’m thrilled at how solid this one especially turned out to be. For my money, ‘Sun don’t shine’ is an outstanding, intelligent, satisfying thriller that’s well worth checking out and deserves much more recognition.