BFI Flare: ‘Sunburn’ Review: Sun, Sex, Secrets

A sun drenched drama in which four very close friends (Ricardo Pereira, Oceana Basilio, Nuno Pardal and Ricardo Barbosa) share a sunny holiday home. Their peace of mind and easy intimacy is disrupted when an old lover threatens to come to the house. He hopes to settle the score with the lover who jilted him, but each of the friends has a complicated history with the interloper and as he draws ever closer, they each consider drastic actions.

Vicente Alves Do Ă“ writes and directs a very personal story of frustration and regret. The fragile warm atmosphere gradually crumbling into resentment and anger is very reminiscent of William Freidkin’s The Boys from the Band. The sun beats down upon the players, forcing them out of their clothes, into the pool and beyond each other’s. Characters are littered around the frame, each absorbed into their own grief. There’s a claustrophobia inside of the beautiful house.

The characters are all in their 40s and each is struggling with the threats posed by aging. They display their fit bodies but are at once racked by insecurity. They question the worth of their lives and contemplate mistakes that may soon be impossible to correct. The fear that drives their actions is one of regret and the potential to make further regrettable choices.

Sunburn is a lively and insightful drama. It’s compelling and mysterious, interrogating the painful ways in which lovers leave each other and the hurts that never really go away.

Four Stars

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