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The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Review | ‘Sasquatch Sunset’ is the pro-environment movie we need right now

Through unorthodox methods, the Zellner Brothers film tells a moving story about the nature of life and existence.
Kevork Djansezian-USA TODAY
Jan 15, 2024; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Jesse Eisenberg at the 75th Emmy Awards at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. Mandatory Credit: Kevork Djansezian-USA TODAY

There are experimental films, and then there is the Zellner Brothers’ new release “Sasquatch Sunset.”

Released on April 19, the film adopts a pace and aesthetic not unlike those in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” It follows a family of Sasquatches over a year as they navigate the North American wilderness, butting heads with everything from cougars to human encroachment to even one another.

If that premise sounds aimless, that’s because it is. “Sasquatch Sunset” is going for a documentary, slice-of-life kind of vibe, and although this approach mostly worked for me, I could see the film being very polarizing with wide audiences.

Still, part of me wishes it had leaned into the documentary aspect a bit more. During any given scene, I was constantly half-expecting voiceover narration to inexplicably appear, perhaps provided by David Attenborough. I think making the film a full-fledged mockumentary could have been interesting.

Viewers should mind the “R” rating before they consider buying a ticket. This is very much a film that wears its grime on its sleeve, and it doesn’t shy away from showcasing every single aspect of these Sasquatches’ lives in an intimate, sometimes brutal fashion.

I was surprised by how many jokes landed. Even though there was no dialogue, there were moments where the camera would suddenly cut to a reaction shot of one of the Sasquatches that left me and the rest of the audience in stitches.

Although it was used infrequently, the score was effective. It complimented the beautiful, almost mythic nature of the Sasquatches’ journey very well.

A case can certainly be made that the film’s central gimmick doesn’t sustain a feature and that “Sasquatch Sunset” would have worked better as a short film. Despite the short runtime, I felt my patience waning a few times throughout, but fortunately, whenever this happened, the film always picked up shortly afterward.

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The area of this film I most butted heads with was in its ending. The cut to credits caught me off guard, and it didn’t feel like the story was concluded. I would go so far as to say that the film ended just when it was getting interesting.

Mileage will vary for the individual viewer based on how much they can accept unorthodox filmmaking approaches, but despite my reservations, I enjoyed the film. It works as a contemplative story about the nature of life and existence and is perhaps the pro-environment movie we need right now.

“Sasquatch Sunset” is now playing in theaters.

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About the Contributor
Grant Darnell, Arts Reporter
Grant Darnell is a second year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in English and Creative Writing and Screenwriting Arts. He is currently an Arts Reporter for the Daily Iowan.