The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Anchor Bay Entertainment - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Hal Holbrook, Ray McKinnon, Walton Goggins, Mia Wasikowska, Carrie Preston, Dixie Carter
Directed by: Scott Teems
Music by: Michael Penn
Written by: Scott Teems (screenplay), William Gay (short story "I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down")
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 7, 2010
"I worked too hard. And too long. I aint goin down without a fight."
Fleeing the retirement home where his son abandoned him, Abner Meecham sets out to reclaim his beloved Tennessee farmstead –only to find it's been leased to an old enemy, the volatile Lonzo Choat. After Abner intervenes to protect Choat's daughter from her drunken father's abuse, events spiral toward a startling, violent climax.
Man, I am scared to get old. I hope my son doesn't throw me into a nursing home...and if it does come to that he best tell me before renting my home of 50 some years to a family I despise. I can see myself acting similar to Abner Meecham, played brilliantly by Hal Holbrook. As stubborn as I am, I would leave that 'retirement' home and high tail it back, just like he did. After only 3 months away I wouldn't expect my place to be occupied, and even worse, with an option to buy.
For Abner this is more than his home. When he realizes what has happened his stubborn self decides to shack up in the crop-keepers quarters and refuses to leave his land or the new occupants, the Choat family, alone. He has to get his home back; not just because it is his home but for the memory of his deceased wife Ellen. Abner took Ellen for granted until it was too late. Getting his land back is a shot at redemption (in his mind). Ellen was the late Dixie Carter's last role and 'That Evening Sun' is dedicated to her memory. Her scenes with Hal, her real life husband of 26 years makes this a tough watch knowing the parallel of her death soon after filming completed. Their scenes, though silent and as flashbacks, have a palpable impact. The way he touches her can only be from someone who truly loves her; those scenes touched me.
The Chote family have a signed lease with an option to buy. Abner's big city lawyer son took to taking care of the property and had the place rented the second his dad was in the retirement home. Lonzo Chote is considered a "hillbilly" and "white-trash" by Abner and he has no qualms telling that to Lonzo's face over and over. Lonzo is played to perfection by Ray McKinnon who played Coach Burt Cotton in The Blind Side and was in HBO's Deadwood. At first I felt for Lonzo and his family, they rightfully belonged on the land as they had a lease and they were cooler than I would be putting up with Abner's presence. After years of slacking and creating trouble, Lonzo has been trying to change his ways and become a productive member of society and the man providing for his family. Abner wont let him live down his past and unfairly pushes Lonzo over the edge and back to his old ways. They are both right and both wrong and it's hard to side.
One evening Lonzo's daughter Pamela, played by Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Alice in Wonderland), comes home late and is caught with a boy her dad does not approve of. Lonzo ends up beating her and his wife Ludie (Carrie Preston- True Blood) with a garden hose. When Abner sees this, he stops the fight by pulling a gun on him. From this moment out it is war and all bets are off.
Abner wants them gone and will never give up.
Lonzo wants to prove he is a man and wont take this any longer.
'That Evening Sun' is a sad film. It shows the desperation of a bitter, lonely old man who has regrets and is grasping on to a memory. It shows the desperation of a poor troubled man who wants to change and even when actually making strides, people wont let his past be forgotten. Considering these heavy tones, it is surprising and a testament to the filmmaker that there is a subtle bit of wonder to these people and their story. I liked and hated both men and really just wished they could share the land and be happy. The cast is superb with not a weak link involved. It is no wonder why this won 'Best Ensemble Cast' as 2009's SXSW Film Festival. Writer/Director Scott Teems sure knew how to keep a storyline that could get tedious flowing easily and I hope to see more of his work in the future. The music by Michael Penn was a major part of the story, hitting the spots perfectly and enhancing the mood on screen. If you are in the mood for a introspective drama that will get you thinking about your twilight years, some fine acting and an almost hypnotizing film, give 'That Evening Sun' a try.
Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, some violence, sexual content and thematic elements.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
'That Evening Sun' comes to Blu-ray Disc from Image Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 mbps and DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound that has an average bitrate of 2.2 mbps.
Image Entertainments release of 'That Evening Sun' Is a decent HD presentation that had elements of a reference video but was inconsistent and faltered with too many soft shots. When it was at its best there was a definition and separation that helped close-ups pop off the screen. Details were visible everywhere and it was extremely filmic with a tasteful bit of grain. Unfortunately the softer shots outweighed those and fine details were smoothed over and things just looked good enough. Black levels were consistently strong and I never felt the shadow details were crushed in the darker scenes. I did notice that the mixed content scenes is where this looked the worst with a flat feel. Ironically the brighter scenes is where 'That Evening Sun' shined.
The DTS-HD Master Audio mix was atmospheric and quite fitting for the film. The 3 elements it needed to be successful were clear easily discernible dialogue, a natural and enveloping surround presentation and a dynamic and crisp musical track. The music was dynamic and very pleasing, most being acoustic guitar/banjo based. I never had an issue with the dialogue, it was all right up front in the nice wide front sound-stage. This was accented very well by a perfectly utilized effect channel presentation. Crickets, wind and sounds you would expect to surround you on farmland in Tennessee were room-filling and completely natural. I enjoyed this films sound design even though it was mellow and not as hyper-aggressive as we are used to.
- Director's Anti-Commentary
- (HD) "That Tennessee Sun..."- The Making of That Evening Sun
- (HD) The art and craft of That Evening Sun
- (HD) Cast and Crew Interviews
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
Image Entertainment's Blu-ray release of 'That Evening Sun' is worth a viewing, whether a purchase or a rental. It's a tough film to swallow, sad and honest, and you cant hide from the raw emotion that fuels every characters actions. Some brilliant performances and a very well made film make this an enjoyable Blu-ray release. I do wish the softer shots didn't happen as often as they did but we have seen much worse. They just degraded how amazing this video did look at times. If you are a fan of dramas and like to have your morals and emotions challenged, 'That Evening Sun' will be right up your alley.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer