West of Sunshine focuses on a father, Jim (played by Damian Hill), who is in debt to a powerful man. This powerful man threatens Damian with consequences if the end does not make the payment of the day. On the same day, it’s Jim’s turn to look after his young son, and he must work as a local courier driver.
From the film’s start, we learn that Jim can’t seem to catch a break. To make matters worse, he makes an inferior decision and turns to gamble to get out of debt. Sadly gambling only digs Jim further into debt and adds more problems to his life. The pressure is now on Jim, and while this film focuses on one day of Jim’s life, the question is can Jim get out of all his problems?
While the film’s setting is based all in one day, it tells its story quickly. It gets straight to the point and doesn’t get bothered with other plot points or give the audience many side characters. The key focus here is clearly on Jim as he deals with his struggles and the pressure which have come from making poor life choices. I also personally enjoyed the added concept of fatherhood that was explored here.
While the story of a man owing money to a powerful person isn’t new, the film gets a little creative with its overall tone and filming style, especially visually. It’s also quite clear that this film has been entirely filmed within the city and streets of Australia.
When it comes to performances, I will praise Damian Hall, who brings excellent performance and energy to the screen. As the viewer, it’s simply impossible not to feel for the character. Let’s face it- the film reminds the world that no one is perfect, that we’ve all made mistakes in life and that we all seek second chances wherever possible. By the film’s end, I felt grateful and honoured to witness one of Damian Hall’s final performances as an actor. I also took a positive meaning from this film which I didn’t expect.
Overall, there are many elements to enjoy about this Australian film. It’s a short, quick film that keeps on point without any significant problems. Sure, the plot isn’t anything new or different, but with pleasing performances, particularly from Damian Hill, thankfully, there is a freshness in both style and the way the story is told.