The veteran British director Terence Davies’s usual nostalgic attachment to the past is present in this adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s beloved 1932 novel. It is set in rural Scotland at the start of the 20th century. The Guthrie farm is where Chris Guthrie (Agyness Deyn), the young farmer’s daughter lives under the rules of her strict father (Peter Mullan). Chris has witnessed mother’s health deteriorate from regular childbirth and overwork, and her brother Will (Jack Greenlees) being subjected to their father’s physical abuse. After the death of his mother, leaves the family farm never to be seen again. It’s a shame because I thought that one of the most effective aspect of Sunset song was the touching, supportive relations between the two siblings. Soon after Will leaves, the father dies and Chris inherit the farm. She is free now and decides to take care of the farm. She falls for young Ewan Tavendale (Kevin Guthrie) and they get married. Ewan is a sweet man who’s in love with his wife. It looks as if they are set for a good life together. But the start of the First World War changes everything. Ewan enlists. On leave, Ewan comes back for a visit and he has changed terribly. He is now angry, aggressive and violent. Sunset song is a slow-moving film. It is also quite depressing as life is hard for young Chris. Although there are good acting from Agyness Deyn and Peter Mullan, young actors Jack Greenlees and Kevin Guthrie. Guthrie is so great at playing the perfect lover, that it is heartbreaking to watch him later where his character has taken a turn for the worse. As always in Davies’s films, there are many old songs to be heard. One of the joy is of course the beautiful Scottish landscape. Cinematographer Michael McDonough’s images are so stunning, it takes your breath away.
Based on the novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
In English with Scottish accents with ENGLISH subtitles.