Teenagers Jacob (Jacob Kristian Ingle), Haley (Haley Ann McKnight), Blaine (Blaine Edward Pugh) and Will (William Dickerson) have discovered the ultimate clubhouse, an entire trailer park abandoned to time. The group make their way through the buildings, scavenging and destroying as they go, exploring their find. At the same time, they are not as alone as they think.
Malachi’s father (Jack Horn) has died, leaving him alone on the farm. As he explores his elderly father’s things, certain secrets about his past are revealed. Alone and confused, Malachi (Gilberto Padilla) sets out to piece together the truth of his past, leading him to trailer park.
Daniel Peddle’s Sunset Edge is a distinctive tale of abandonment. From the trailer park to Malachi to the disaffected foursome that come to raid and enjoy the remains, all have been left alone to their own devices. Jacob and company are looking for a place that is all their own, their destruction an acting out against society-at-large that seems not to notice them. The film is also a coming-of-age tale, with Malachi’s need to re-build that which has been destroyed a sign of needing to find his own identity.
While the story is relatively easy to follow along with, the narrative is revealed in a nonlinear fashion. The opening of the film is actually closer to the final act than it is a traditional beginning, but it establishes the characters, and a bit of mystery, before the film starts filling in the blanks.
Which, while I appreciated the hypnotic tone that the film creates as it moves to its finale, I wasn’t all that jazzed with the final resolution. It’s actually more of a testament to how great a job the film does with its narrative journey that the final destination came up short; it had me entranced, and I don’t know what kind of ending would’ve been able to match that feeling of being that engaged throughout. The film is hypnotic in its way.
But, yes, for you of the cynical variety, that can be read as slow-paced, though I enjoyed the groove that the edit establishes. The nonlinear nature of the piece does offer some potentially confusing moments, but if you go with the film it tends to sort itself rather quickly. It keeps you off balance, but that’s part of the haunting charm that hooks you.
Sunset Edge is not going to be for everyone. It has some gorgeous imagery, but you have to be willing to surrender to its deliberately-paced revelations. Its mysteries will likely be what entice you throughout, but the film is more than the final answers it offers.