This simple, low budget New Zealand and Australian co-production is a two-handed romantic drama that is reminiscent of the Before trilogy from Richard Linklater. It basically follows a couple as they wander through the streets of Christchurch while they try to work out where their relationship stands.
Charlie (Dustin Clare, from TV series Spartacus) left his girlfriend Eve (Camille Keenan, a regular in TV series) behind when he enlisted in the army. After a five month absence he has returned briefly during a stopover and reconnect during a day spent wandering the city and revisiting familiar places that have significance to their relationship. The day is full of awkward moments, tenderness, and uncertainty during this temporary bonding session.Eve is heavily pregnant now, and Charlie is unsure of where the relationship is headed. As they walk and talk details of their shared past and their personalities and hopes and fears are slowly teased out.
The location adds an extra dimension to the existential nature of the dialogue. Christchurch was severely damaged by the 2011 earthquake, and the broken city, with its cracked and crumbling facades, becomes a powerful metaphor for their broken relationship.
Sunday is a true collaboration between real life couple Clare and Keenan, who co-wrote the script with first time director Michelle Lloyd, and cinematographer Ryan Alexander Lloyd. Lloyd works with long steady takes, but he also occasionally works in closeup which adds to the intimacy of the film.
Charlie is not an easy character to warm to, but Clare and Keenan share an easy going chemistry and rapport that enriches the thin material.
Sunday deals with themes of rebuilding, second chances and hope for the future. First time feature director Lloyd handles the material with compassion, honesty and warmth.
Director: Michelle Lloyd
Cast: Dustin Clare and Camille Keenan
Releasing in cinemas: 2 May 2015 (very limited) and on multi-platform
For more of Greg King’s writing on film, check out his blog at filmreviews.net.au
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television