Sunrise Movie Review Rating:

Star Cast: Alex Pettyfer, Crystal Yu, William Gao, Kurt Yaeger, Olwen Fouéré, Guy Pearce

Director: Andrew Baird

Sunrise Movie Review Out ( Photo Credit – Lionsgate Movies / YouTube )

What’s Good: Guy Pearce’s sharp performance as the detestable Joe Reynolds stands out, capturing the essence of a villain with racist ideologies and a sense of entitlement. The film occasionally succeeds in capturing the gritty essence reminiscent of top-tier vampire films, exploring the terrifying aspects of racism and violence.

What’s Bad: “Sunrise” grapples with generic dialogue, a lack of character depth, and an inconsistent exploration of its intriguing concepts. The film’s attempt to fuse a vampire story with themes of American racism feels awkward and lacks nuance. The narrative meanders through various genres, resulting in a slow and disorganized amalgamation of ideas.

Loo Break: Around 48 Minutes into “Sunrise,” Crystal Yu and Alex Pettyfer’s Conversation Offers an Opportune Moment for a Break.

Watch or Not?: While Guy Pearce’s standout performance adds value, “Sunrise” falls short of delivering a satisfying cinematic experience. The film’s lack of thematic and narrative unity, combined with excessive lighting and half-baked ideas, makes it a challenging watch for those seeking a cohesive storyline.

Language: English

Available On: Theatrical release

Runtime: 1h 34m


User Rating:

The film unfolds in a picturesque yet haunted blue-collar town, exploring themes of racism, violence, and the supernatural. Joe Reynolds, a racist entrepreneur, commits a heinous crime against an immigrant family, setting the stage for an enigmatic stranger, Fallon, with potential vampire inclinations. As the narrative weaves through folklore, crime, and family drama, it struggles to coalesce into a cohesive and entertaining storyline.

Sunrise Movie Review Out ( Photo Credit – Lionsgate Movies / YouTube )

Sunrise Movie Review: Script Analysis

Ronan Blaney’s screenplay for “Sunrise” introduces a mix of folklore, crime, and family drama, attempting to weave together themes of racism and supernatural elements. The script opens with the intriguing legend of the Red Coat demon, rooted in the historical tradition of animal sacrifices, only to struggle to fully develop this potentially creepy supernatural aspect. While the narrative touches on contemporary issues such as racism and rural extremism, the screenplay’s major setback lies in its lack of impactful monologues and the inability to provide depth to the promising ideas it introduces. The film’s transition between genres feels disjointed, leaving substantial concepts unexplored and resulting in a stretched and complex narrative.

Despite the script’s ambitious attempt to tackle diverse themes, it must offer a cohesive and engaging storyline. The frequent flashbacks to a decade earlier, meant to provide backstory and depth, end up needing to be more precise than revealing, contributing to the overall disjointedness of the narrative. While there are promising aspects, like the folklore-inspired setting and a proficient cast, the overly complex story makes it challenging for the audience to traverse and connect with the film’s intended impact. The script of “Sunrise” struggles to effectively marry its various elements, leaving substantial ideas underserved and the overall story lacking the clarity and nuance needed to deliver a satisfying cinematic experience.

Sunrise Movie Review: Star Performance

Guy Pearce‘s performance in “Sunrise” is a compelling portrayal of the detestable character Joe Reynolds. Throughout the film, Pearce masterfully embodies the essence of a racist and entitled villain, delivering a performance that transcends mere caricature. His unwavering presence and commitment to the role add depth to a character driven by toxic ideologies, seamlessly navigating the complexities of racism, violence, and arrogance. Pearce’s ability to convey Reynolds’s darker aspects elevates the character beyond a one-dimensional antagonist, making him a memorable and impactful force in the film.

Even in moments where the script falters or the narrative struggles, Pearce’s performance remains a consistent and captivating element. His American accent, though constant and growling, serves as a reflection on less admirable public figures, showcasing Pearce’s dedication to bringing authenticity to his portrayal. The actor’s nuanced approach to embodying the woe-is-me attitude of Reynolds, combined with a portrayal of entitlement and arrogance, adds layers to the character. Despite the film’s challenges, Pearce’s star power shines through, making his performance a standout feature that holds the audience’s attention.

Sunrise Movie Review Out
Sunrise Movie Review Out ( Photo Credit – Lionsgate Movies / YouTube )

Sunrise Movie Review: Direction, Music

Andrew Baird’s direction in “Sunrise” attempts to infuse a horror-Western atmosphere while addressing contemporary issues. However, the film needs to capture the intended haunted atmosphere of the Pacific Northwest. The pacing and transitions between genres contribute to a disjointed viewing experience, hindering the immersive quality expected in a horror film. While the ruggedly immersive setting holds promise, Baird needs help maintaining a consistent tone throughout the narrative. The film’s visual appeal is marred by excessive lighting and needs more tactile depth for this genre. Despite the ambitious attempt to blend genres, the direction fails to provide the cohesive and atmospheric storytelling required for a successful horror western.

The music does not significantly enhance the film’s overall impact. The musical score fails to contribute substantially to the atmosphere or emotional resonance of “Sunrise.” In a genre that relies heavily on mood-setting and tension-building through music, this criticism further adds to the film’s challenges in delivering a satisfying cinematic experience. The absence of noteworthy music indicates a missed opportunity to elevate the film’s overall quality through a more impactful and immersive soundtrack.

Sunrise Movie Review: The Last Word

In essence, “Sunrise” falls short of its ambitious fusion of genres, grappling with generic dialogue, a lack of thematic clarity, and an inconsistent narrative. While Guy Pearce delivers a standout performance as the detestable Joe Reynolds, the film’s identity crisis and failure to explore promising ideas leave it unable to provide a satisfying cinematic experience. Ultimately, “Sunrise” is a sincere but ponderous endeavor that, despite Pearce’s allure, struggles to navigate its potential, leaving audiences with substantial ideas unexplored and a film that fails to coalesce into a compelling whole.

Sunrise Trailer

Sunrise releases on January 19, 2024.

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For more recommendations, read our Anyone But You Movie Review here.

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