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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
The Night of the Sunflowers [2007] [DVD]
Format: DVD|Change
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on 25 May 2008
This is one of those films that winds you up and up and does not let go. One of the best I have seen, I loved the realism. A must see!
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VINE VOICEon 13 December 2008
This is a more relaxed and clever reverse riff on ONE BLOODY SUMMER. A rapist stalks rural northern Spain and we know who he is. But not all of the characters in this tragedy share our knowledge. Assembled as a series of viewpoints the result is a crime, another crime and a series of further crimes. Each of which moves towards us like a small landslide, unstoppable but slow. It takes an act by the one player able to make a moral decision to halt this process; and he pays his price like some Roman hero. The comparison to the Coen Brothers is well made. The setting of decaying rural Spain is very well observed indeed. The film is slow but steady; just like Nemesis.

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on 23 March 2015
First 20 min are quiet interesting then fades away to ?-Land.
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on 14 May 2008
I didn't like it. There were some very cleverly played moments, like when the guy in the bar sends the would be rapist/killer on a wild goose chase to the town where in frustration he attempts his next rape. And I'm not beyond coping with bleak films but this was cynical. Generally the characters were not people I could warm to, the beautiful black girl was too beautiful to be putting up with the second rate treatment from the boyfriend who later behaved like a plantation owner in the face of her violation by the rapist. The small town atmosphere was good and reminded me of In the Heat of the Night but the level of character sympathy was on a par with Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer which I saw some twenty years ago and would never want to see again.
In fact Henry, Portrait etc and Man Bites Dog are the two films that come nearest in terms of how seedy you might feel for watching this film. I bought it based on the first two reviews and each to their own but the fact that it's now selling for 8 quid says more about it than I can.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 August 2011
I`m always a sucker for films that hinge on the consequences of one event - showing the intent, actions and results for not just the original victim/protagonist, but the related individuals (something done even more bleakly in this). There are not particularly exceptional performances or dialogue on show here, but there is an excellent storyline - a would-be rapist is cruising the area, and events occur as a result of his actions. There is no powerhouse scene, we simply watch events unfold at a natural pace and the conclusion is not a happy, contrived one. But that isn`t to say it isn`t memorable, as some of the action is deeply unpleasant and there aren`t many characters who come out of the film with reputation enhanced.
Whilst the notion of justice is prevalent throughout, the most troubling actions are by those who should be beyond reproach - the deeply unimpressive policeman is probably the most offensive character, filling his day with illegal activities, drinking and vomiting, whilst still finding time for an affair. All events take place in and around a small farming village, where there is excitement about the discovery of a cave entrance, fuelling hopes of igniting a spark in the local economy, and it is this slight disturbance to the normal routines that allows some horrific events to unfurl. Well-acted, well-paced and actually quite sad.
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on 4 June 2008
What a disappointing film. It starts so well and the idea is great, but then it just plods and seems to fizzle out. It is a great idea but a big disappointment. Didn't work for me at all.
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on 11 February 2008
This is a frank and startling exploration of how the frail balance of life can be disturbed in a small village community. By means of a Coen Brothers-esque downward spiralling plot, Night of the Sunflowers describes how one sinister visit sets off a chain of events which changes peoples' lives forever.

This film is quite dry and realistic, with little time for the sentimental. After it had finished I felt quite unsatisfied but not in the least bit cheated; Night of the Sunflowers is clearly not intended to leave the viewer with a warm glow in their midst. I would have given it 5 stars were it not for a slight mid-movie lull in pace, which detracted a tad from the impact of this otherwise excellent and thought provoking film.
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on 28 August 2009
** "Is justice really necessary if no-one demands it?" **

Old and poverty-stricken rural Spain meets the comfortably-off urban and educated in a story about public duty and self-interest. The narrative starts out with university pot-holers being invited to a withering regional town in response to the local's over-enthusiasm for a newly discovered rock cavern. The mayor is desperately certain it's unknown contents will revitalise the local economy. The senior pot-holer, our intermediary, maintains a polite scepticism.

The opening titles are set over a symbolic night-time scene in a field of sunflowers. The complementary bookend scene of the serial rapist and murderer is used to turn a light on the morality and implications of the events. The film itself consists of several overlapping episodes each centring on one of the main characters as the brutal tale unfolds. The exposition is deliberate, crystal clear, and economic. The main players are empathetically fleshed out but followed with a matter-of-fact perspective.

The story starts out in warm summer light but ends in the dark of night. Nothing particularly spectacular; it was how things turned out. With a soundtrack that is haunting and minimal, this is modern film noir at its best.
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on 13 December 2008
This film has all the potential for a great movie (a rape, an innocent killed, a crazy old man, a cheating husband), and is a really good idea for a film.

However, there is just one huge problem with it, and that is the lack of tension or suspense. I can't put my finger on the reason why I felt this lack of tension, especially since all of the actors are excellent and the characters are all quite believable, but there is definitely something missing that made me feel disappointed come the end of the film; and thus helped put across the sense that film is really just a bit "arty farty."

The scenes with Crazy Amos were certainly my favourite and made me laugh.
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on 5 February 2008
I was disappointed by this movie. The reviews on Amazon made it sound excellent. Perhaps it is. However, entertaining it is not. The central theme appears to be that violent crimes have many victims and the guilty go unpunished. Worthy and deep I am sure. However, I found the whole thing joyless.
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