A year in the life of a unique family. It captures the daily life of the Sasquatch with a level of detail and rigor that is simply unforgettable.

Chuck says:

Raising children, waiting around at the DMV, and being married are all things that, at times, require an inordinate amount of patience. Add sitting through David and Nathan Zellner’s “Sasquatch Sunset” to that list.  A well-intentioned but meandering exercise, this family comedy enveloped in a nature documentary parody is a subversive social satire that can’t seem to get out of its own way.

Set in the redwood forests of the Pacific Northwest, the film follows the trials and tribulations of a family of four sasquatches over the course of a year. The none-too-bright alpha male (Nathan Zellner) of the group likes to eat, fornicate, and pass gas. If he were a human being, he’d be the layabout uncle your mom would tell you to stay away from.   The other adult male (Jesse Eisenberg) is more introspective, having learned to hold back and observe while his rival shoots himself in the foot. The child of the group (Christophe Zajak-Denec) is curious as any youngster would be, staying close to his mother (Riley Keough), the smartest of the four who quietly stands by, aware she will be required to solve any problem her mate creates.

We see them foraging, beating big sticks on trees, interacting with other animals they should be wary of and becoming involved in slapstick situations Laurel and Hardy would be proud of. They bicker, play, help one another with grooming and sometimes take a psychedelic trip if they manage to eat just the right mushroom. And, unfortunately, some of their antics lead to untimely injury and even death.

The first forty minutes don’t necessarily consist of a freeform narrative but there seems to be little going on. Standard incidents of plot aren’t at play, simply observation, which is, of course, part-and-parcel of the documentary format. However, those features usually have a narrator informing us of the significance of these actions.  Here, these acts play for cheap, and eventually, tedious laughs.

Eventually the Zellners’ intentions are revealed and what we’ve witnessed previously is put into some context. What befalls this hairy family proves poignant, their plight inescapable and tragic. In a sense, the overall theme of the film applies to us all and resonates, the movie’s last half-hour a genuinely moving and bracing experience.

Unfortunately, early on the Zellners’ fail to build any good will with the audience, toying and manipulating them past the point of endurance. While the filmmakers’ sense of humor is welcome, it’s the ratio to laughs and pathos that’s the problem here.  There’s too much of the former and not enough of the latter, making “Sasquatch” an elaborately costumed, missed opportunity.

2 Stars

Recent Posts
Contact Us

Chuck and Pam would love to hear from you! Send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search

Stay up to date with Chuck and Pam!
Join our monthly newsletter for behind the scenes looks, special interviews, and bonus content!
We respect your privacy.