23 Minutes to Sunrise is a movie that tries many different things for its indie feel, but do any of them work, or is this a failed experiment?
23 Minutes to Sunrise is set mainly around a diner and the two workers that work the late shift there. The movie has two sets of main characters really, it follows the two workers Eddie and Sheila. Eddie is back was a solider in Afghanistan and is now back in college studying and has his job at the diner at nights. Sheila is 30 year old woman who is in an abusive relationship with a husband who doesn’t seem to care at all, and her only escape is to her job at night. The other two main characters are Daniel and Hannah, but we know literally nothing about these two the majority of the movie.
Throughout the night at the diner where Eddie and Sheila work, two other couples enter the diner. Both couples are very weak cliche characters, that don’t tread any new ground in film. You have your full of himself 20 something year old guy who is having a hard time in life, and that’s Donald. With him is his girlfriend Grace, which barely even talks in the movie and adds nothing but gentle words to calm down Donald in his heated overacted segments. The other couple that are in the diner are Rachel and Ted, a couple that are having marriage trouble and trying to work through it. Neither Rachel nor Ted are developed in the movie at all, both are the same people that they are at the start of the movie, that they are at the end. Apart from the characters I have mentioned, this is basically your entire cast for the length of the movie except for one or two appearances from characters that don’t even have names and add nothing to the film.
One of 23 Minutes to Sunrise’s main problems is that it never knows where it wants to go. It takes almost the entirety of the film for something to happen, and I don’t mind when a movie takes time to build up, but when it does, I hope for a good payoff but unfortunately the film doesn’t have one. In fact when I got done watching the film, I asked myself ‘what was the point of that film even?’ and I actually couldn’t find an answer. The film has a story that is impossible to explain because it is barely even there, nothing is explained in the movie, you have characters that barely show emotion and on top of that, you have an ending that shouts ‘we didn’t know how to end this.’ There is just no reason ever given to anything done in the movie.
My problem with the ending is, there is supposedly a ‘threat’ but the threat is never explained, it is never explained to why it is an actually threat to someone. Instead, they cut the movie short and just leave it up to your own imagination to think up something.
One good aspect of the movie is that it has a good narrative early on, it has Eddie one of the lead characters, talking over scenes, as if he is writing down what is happening, or explaining what happened to someone, like telling a story. But this is ditched halfway through and it never comes to light again. The movie also tries to bring in a relationship, ‘love triangle’ sort of thing too but just like the rest of the movie, it gives you a tiny piece and then just cuts it short.
All in all, 23 Minutes to Sunrise presents different things that could of made it so much better, with these different branching story lines and then different characters pasts, and even delving into other characters deeper to show why they are like they are now. But the movie is just lazy and cuts everything short. This movie isn’t worth seeing unless you have literally nothing else to watch.1.5/5