THAT EVENING SUN is one of those marvelous "little" pictures that usually gets lost in the shuffle because it's too little. On the other hand, if one is lucky enough to catch it, the film stays with them forever.
Hal Holbrook, in what is perhaps the finest performance of his stellar career, plays Abner Meecham, a crusty old coot who escapes from his retirement home and returns to his farm, only to discover that his adult son (Walton Goggins) has "sold" it to a family that the octogenarian considers to be `white trash".
Meecham, however, is a proud, stubborn man, so he moves into the sharecropper's cabin across from the main house, buys a barking dog for company and lays "siege" to the intruders. It is just a matter of time before events turn very ugly.
Adapted to the screen by director Scott Teems from a short story by William Gay, THAT EVENING SUN is filled with well-defined characters of varying shades of gray. Meecham may, indeed, be the hero of the piece, but he is definitely a flawed hero, just as his antagonist (Ray McKinnon), for very brief moments, can evoke our sympathy.
The ending to the story is now what one would expect.
Mia Wasikowska, Carrie Preston, Barry Corbin and Holbrook's late wife, Dixie Carter, are effective in their various roles.
© Michael B. Druxman