Friday, June 12, 2015

Shoot the Sun Down (1978)

The obscure Western drama Shoot the Sun Down is a downbeat saga featuring the unlikely duo of Margot Kidder and Christopher Walken as desperate people seeking new lives in the sun-baked wilderness. Superficially, the movie delivers—Kidder is sexy, Walken is otherworldly, and the movie’s vibe is as dusty as it is depressing. Beyond surface textures, however, Shoot the Sun Down is a total dud. Neither the characters nor the story make sense, most of the running time comprises lifeless dialogue scenes, and whenever producer/director David Leeds strives for profundity, he gets stuck in the mud of false notes and overreaching metaphors. Set in the American southwest before the Civil War, the picture introduces viewers to The Woman (Kidder), an English beauty who travels with Captain (Bo Brundin), a Scandinavian seaman, and Scalphunter (Geoffrey Lewis), an outlaw. Visiting a small town one day, the group encounters Mr. Rainbow (Walken), a gunslinger. Turns out the Woman is Captain’s indentured servant. The Woman tries to bribe Mr. Rainbow with sex, asking him to kill Captain so she can be free. For some reason, the plot also involves an Indian named Sunbearer (A. Martinez), who stands out in the desert waiting to have ponderous conversations with Mr. Rainbow. Various things happen. Kidder bathes in a wading pool so she can parade around in wet undergarments. Walken gets tied to a rock in the hot sun so he can suffer in a visually interesting way. Through it all, only veteran character actor Lewis seems to have any idea what the hell he’s doing, snarling through bad-guy moments and cheerfully spewing cornpone aphorisms. Kidder is terrible, employing a weak accent and often simply lingering in the backgrounds of scenes because she’s got nothing to do, and Walken seems miscast with his postmodern acting style. Yet most of the blame must fall on Leeds, who also cowrote this incomprehensible mess. Luckily for everyone, this was his first and last movie.

Shoot the Sun Down: LAME

1 comment:

starofshonteff1 said...

I always thought Margot Kidder struggled with her French-Canadian accent in SISTERS as well, but for me something captivating happens when her reach exceeds her grasp