Film Review

Sasquatch Sunset

todayMay 25, 2024 23

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By – Gareth Jones

For fans of the Zellner brothers, Cryptozoology films, Micheal Cera and Riley Keough in full body suits

Nathan and David Zellner have had quite a career. Between the two of them, they have acted in 75 films, and written/directed seven feature length films as well as numerous shorts and television projects. Their last three films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, which is where I was initially exposed to their unique approach to filmmaking.  This was the astonishing Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, a fictionalized narrative about a Japanese woman who becomes obsessed with Fargo to the point that she travels to Minnosota looking for the missing money hidden by Steve Buscemi.  They followed that film up with the genre-busting Western Damsel, which gave Robert Patterson another opportunity to counter his post-Twilight career.  Here, they team up with Michael Cera and Riley Keough to tell the story of a group of Sasquatch as they live their lives for a year.   

Unlike other Sasquatch or Bigfoot films, this film really dives into the daily lives of the Sasquatch.  It is divided into four sections for each season.  We start in Spring and the Zellner brothers waste no time at all getting into how this film is going to present the characters by having the Alpha Male and the lone Female copulating in the woods. The humor of this scene sets the tone as well as establishing the dynamic between the characters.  This is important as there is no translated dialogue.  There is a language, often with hand symbols, that the audience is asked to interpret.  Some of it is obvious while others slowly come into understanding.  In this way, the film resembles the magnificent film Quest for Fire which told the story of early species of man.  In both cases, we quickly develop connections to the characters.  This film has a much more satirical style, but both films ask us to immerse ourselves in the lives of these characters.

Unlike many cryptozoology films, the Zellners do not ask us to fear these creatures; they are not monsters.  In fact, they are presented just like other animals.  Throughout the film, we see the group living in peace with some animals and in conflict with others.  It takes on an almost nature documentary approach in these moments.  The pacing is slow but meaningful.  It is also scatological and realistic.  Be warned.

The score for the film is provided by the Octopus Project and it is majestic, emotive, and allows the audiences to emotionally connect in a powerful way.  It mirrors the nature photography and has an air of reverence. This is the third score that the Austin, Texas band has created for the Zellner Brothers.  Previously, they had worked on Kumiko and Damsel and have show a deep connection and understanding of the brothers’ work.  It is reminiscent of Carter Burwell and the Coen Brothers. This is an obvious comparison, but in both cases it is an example of artistic collaborations that work like peanut butter and jelly.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the suits the actors wear and the performances that they give.  There are only the four actors and they all do a fantastic job.  The face design for each is sensational with a common bond in each face but also enough distinctions molded around the actors faces to give them individuality and flexibility for performance.  Cera and Keough are particularly moving in the use of their eyes.

Once again, the Zellner Brothers have created a unique cinematic experience and I eagerly await their next work.

Available to stream now and playing in some theaters.

Written by: Gareth Jones

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