Last night the Dear Hubby convinced me to watch Sunset Limited, an HBO film adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy book. Cormac McCarthy also wrote "No Country for Old Men" and "The Road". DH had seen it before, and warned me that it was "pretty dark." DH has an eclectic taste in movies, and occassionally hits on a winner. And so does HBO, so I decided to give it a go. Besides, it starred Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones (who also directed). How could it suck?
I knew this was basically a two-man one-act play, but it still took me a few beats to follow the dialogue. S.L.Jackson really rocked his character, Black. He was as good, if not better, than he was in Pulp Fiction, another movie with some major dialogue delivery (although who can forget Snakes on a Plane? Now THAT was some dialogue!). Black is a blue collar worker (not sure that we ever learned exactly what he did, but he wore a uniform like a maintenance guy or something) who rescues White, a professor (we don't know what he professes, besides despair), when White tried to commit suicide by throwing himself in front of the Sunset Limited. FYI, the Sunset Limited is a train that runs between New Orleans and LA.
Anyway, Black drags White home with him, and spends the next hour and half trying to convince White that life is good, and needs to be lived. Black thinks life sucks, what's the point?, Let's end it all now. Tommy Lee Jones, who has kind of a hang-dog look about him to begin with, was a very convincing depressed guy. His accent was a bit subdued in this film, I notice.
There were a lot of great lines, but my favorite is the blessing Black said over the food he served White:
"Lord, we thank you for this food and the many blessings we have received from your hand. We thank you for the life of the professor you have returned to us and ask that you look after him because we need him. I don’t know why we need him, I just know we do.”
That kind of sums up my personal philosophy--we rarely know the meaning of the lesson until class is over, but by golly, I'm gonna keep trying to figure it out.
I really don't know who won the argument. I think that maybe you take from this movie what you brought to it. If you are a nihilist, then White won. If you are an optimist, then Black won. Hopefully more of us are on the side of Black!