Hey gang, Valkor here. This next film to get the MediaView showcase, the latest starring none other than Mr. Eric Roberts himself, kind feels like a long, dark Seinfeld episode – it even takes place in a diner, but it's sans humor. This DVD, 23 Minutes to Sunrise, It’s like a film about nothing, but there’s definitely something there and quite frankly it’s one of Roberts best works. FYI, minor spoilers ahead.
23 Minutes to Sunrise centers on four couples who just happen to converge late one night into the Sunrise Diner, which the end result might prove fatal for one of them. While there are several characters in the mix, the main focus is given to diner coworkers chef Eddie (Dingani Beza) and waitress Sheila (Jilanne Klaus); both want more out of their lives than what they already have (Eddie wants to get his degree and Sheila is in need of a new man) but they find find solace in the company of one another. But according to Eddie, strange occurrences often happen during the late night hours at the diner, but unbeknownst to the both of them, the situation is about to get even stranger.
Enter three couples; the first is already seated and it’s clear from their discussion, they’re having marital issues. The second – an older guy (Eric Roberts) and a younger female take a stall. They mostly sit in silence, but what little discussion they do perform is rather cryptic, but it becomes clearer as the evening progresses. The final couple, a Bonnie and Clyde type take a stall but before that, they left behind a pretty violent trail in their wake. The Clyde guy is easily riled up; he even robs and quite possibly killed a special needs, superhero wanna be just because he waved at him. But the icing to this cake focuses on the older gentleman and younger woman; turns out the guy is Satan and he’s giving this young lady a chance at freedom from his 250 year hold on her – find someone in the next 23 minutes to take her place and she can be set free from his eternal grasp. With only a limited number of people and a short amount of time, finding someone to take her place isn’t going to be an easy one.
Yea, this was definitely one of the weirdest films I’ve ever laid eyes. It doesn’t really follow any familiar structure with the actors going along for the ride, almost like an improv. There’s certainly an out come to all of this; and while it isn’t the most explosive ending, it’s still an ending. And with that, we move on to…
I really enjoyed 23 Minutes to Sunrise; it was weird watching a film of this type where it doesn’t really follow a conventional film format (it’s kind of everywhere), but it starts to come together once the agreement between Robert’s character and the young woman kick in; until then it sort of goes off in its own direction. But by the end of it all, I think it wraps up nicely save for a few loose ends. The mood is quite somber and dark, which is the perfect setting for what’s ultimately to come. And the pacing is tepid, but tolerable; you won’t be checking your watch too often as the film does an excellent job of holding your attention. The acting is solid with the two main cast members, Jilanne Klaus and Dingani Beza, scoring points for having great on screen rapport; they really do play off well from one another and they’re acting is pretty impressive. But major points goes out to Eric Roberts, who does what he does best – playing it cool and giving absolutely no fucks. He sort of reminds me of his Maroni character from The Dark Knight, only mellower. Haley Busch, who sides along with Robert’s character, gets PerfectView points; definitely easy on the eyes, but her eyes are definitely easy to get lost in. Pic below very related. 23 Minutes to Sunrise, I wasn’t quite sure what was going on when it started, but by the end of it all I was kinda glad I didn’t pass this one up.
The ending is really weird and leaves many questions unanswered, plus it’s rushed to reach the final minutes of the 23. It ends in a way that you’re ok with the resolve, but I kinda wished it ended on a happier note for Eddie and Sheila.
23 Minutes to Sunrise DVD is available now and there’s enough within that’ll certainly hold your attention; with its dark overtones, interesting characters and slow yet tolerable pacing, makes this one a must watch. And hey, any Eric Roberts’ film you can walk away from, proudly, is definitely a good one. And out of TOV 5 stars, 23 Minutes to Sunrise gets a 4.