EIFF 2012: Sun Don’t Shine Review

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Amy Seimetz’s debut feature film, Sun Don’t Shine recently received its international premiere at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival. This indie picture feels like a fusion of a road movie, psychological drama and thriller – proving to be an impressive feature debut and stirring watch.

Two young lovers, Crystal (Kate Lyn Sheil) and Leo (Kentucker Audley) go on the run in rural Florida, the pair both haunted by a dark secret that bounds them together. With a gun in the glove compartment and ever growing paranoia – their relationship begins to hit new extremes.    

Seimetz creates a tense and brooding atmosphere, using the humid Florida landscape as a canvas for this paranoia-infused drama. Sun Don’t Shine is a film shrouded in mystery, the opening thrusts us into one of the couples’ heated disputes, immediately spurring the question what have they done? Seimetz screenplay is a slowly unravelling puzzle which eventually reveals to us that Crystal stabbed her abusive husband, whose body lies in the car trunk.

Once this crucial detail is revealed Seimetz amps up the tension with the inclusion of encounters with suspicious passers-by or simply by reflecting an ever-recurring police presence. The fusion of this brooding atmosphere, combined with Seimetz’s grainy, dreamlike direction produces a completely stirring, haunting film.

The dreamlike direction of Sun Don’t Shine bares resemblance to the issues of one of the central characters, Crystal. Crystal seems completely unaware of her actions or the effect that her behaviour has on others – baring an almost childlike presence throughout the film. The character is somewhat of an enigma, who she herself does not even understand. Kate Lyn Sheil’s performance mostly reflects  this, but some flaky line-delivery means that she does not always convince.

Kentucker Audley’s performance as Leo is perhaps one of Sun Don’t Shine’s strongest assets. The actor always gives us an insight to the gears turning in Leo’s head, as he attempts to fix Crystal’s problems. No sooner has one issue been dealt with, then another arises – as he is slowly becoming bound to her by their dark secret. Audley’s performance gradually unveils the effects that these mounting problems have on Leo as looks for release from an old flame.

Sun Don’t Shine is a thoroughly impressive feature debut from Amy Seimetz. The director’s haunting fusion of genres results in a tense, atmospheric drama with strong performances, most notably from leading man, Kentucker Audley.

Andrew McArthur

Stars: Kate Lyn Sheil, Kentucker Audley, AJ Bowen
Director: Amy Seimetz
Release: 23rd June (EIFF)

SUN DON’T SHINE Teaser from David Lowery on Vimeo.