The Sunset Limited (film)

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The Sunset Limited
The Sunset Limited.jpg
Screenplay by Cormac McCarthy
Directed by Tommy Lee Jones
Starring Tommy Lee Jones
Samuel L. Jackson
Theme music composer Marco Beltrami
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Barbara A. Hall
Cinematography Paul Elliott
Editor(s) Roberto Silvi
Larry Madaras
Running time 91 minutes
Original release
  • February 12, 2011 (2011-02-12)

The Sunset Limited is a 2011 television film based on the play written by Cormac McCarthy. The film stars Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. It was the duo's second collaboration, after the 2000 film Rules of Engagement.


Two men with opposing beliefs confront each other in an apartment.

The film starts out with Black (Samuel L. Jackson) and White (Tommy Lee Jones) conversing about White's attempted suicide. White feels as though everything ends up in death, and that his life is minuscule in the throes of time.

From White's point of view, no matter how great someone or something is, all that is created eventually fades away. This is the opposite of what Black believes. He believes that there is a God and that we all must go through the troubles of life to get to paradise (Heaven). By his own account, his story is that of a man who has committed murder and was far away from God, but has now changed.

Black feels that he can persuade White from committing suicide. With Black stopping White right before he was about to kill himself, Black feels that this is destiny. In the end, Black is not able to persuade White from suicide; he lets him leave the apartment. When White leaves, Black is left pondering why God would put him in a position to save this man's life knowing that there is nothing that he can do to stop White from going through with the suicide.



The film received generally favorable reviews. The film holds a 67-out-of-100 score at the review aggregator website Metacritic, based on 15 reviews. Among those who praised the film are Verne Gay of Newsday, who called it "grim, but a chance to see two magnificent actors at the peak of their powers."[1] It currently holds no rating at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, but the one review currently counted is by Mike Scott of The Times-Picayune, who called the film "A thinking man's drama that rolls deep, heavy thoughts around and around, trying to puzzle out where the truth lies. Or, indeed, if what we see as the truth is just that: a lie."[2]

Among those who disliked the film were Mike Hale of The New York Times, who described it as a "dorm-room argument masquerading as a drama", the characters as "empty vessels for McCarthy’s language and notions", and the debate on the existence of God and the absurdity of the human condition "so purely rhetorical and dramatically inert that you never feel as if you were in the room with them."[3]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "The Sunset Limited: Season 1". Metacritc. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  2. ^ The Sunset Limited (2011). Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  3. ^ Hale, Mike (11 February 2011). "After Saving a Jumper, The Chat That Ensues". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2013.