An absolutely inspired debut feature from Spanish director Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo that ranks up there for me along with Gone Baby Gone and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead as a candidate for best of the year. I got this PAL import a few weeks ago and didn't get around to watching it until last night. Night of the Sunflowers is a gripping thriller set in rural Spain and told in 6 chapters with varied time line jumps. An atmosphere of ominous dread and menace pervades the film from start to finish and while it strikes a similar chord in both tone and plot structure to No Country for Old Men, it doesn't suffer from the histrionics that I thought slightly marred the Coen Brother's otherwise excellent film.
Sánchez-Cabezudo explores the nature of violence, revenge, morality and the role that chance plays in life's strange tapestry using multiple perspectives in subtle and measured ways. What's more, he doesn't attempt to provide pat answers to complex questions or decisions. An interesting plot structure has the early leads fading into the background story as new characters are introduced in subsequent chapters. I'm not sure I've seen that before.
Akin to in mood and pacing to fantastic Argentinian film The Aura from last year, Night of the Sunflowers is a equally terrific hidden gem distinctly worthy of a full North American theatrical release and some real marketing money. How this one got passed over by the distributors astounds me. In Spanish with English S/T's