Review: Comedians share long night in well-acted, intimate drama ‘Before the Sun Explodes’
Belying its grandiose title, the L.A.-set “Before the Sun Explodes” is an intimate, if at times stagy, snapshot of 24 hours or so in the life of Ken (Bill Dawes), a stay-at-home dad and once-successful stand-up comic with anxiety, confidence and marital issues.
Just before an important show (shot at West Hollywood’s Laugh Factory), Ken fights with his self-absorbed, breadwinner wife, Diana (Christine Woods), when she comes home drunk from a work event. She throws Ken out of the house, but her intentions are vague.
Predictably, Ken then bombs on stage. Less predictably, he connects with Holly (Sarah Butler), a sexy, forthright fellow comedian, who has stalker and ex-boyfriend troubles. Ken and Holly end up at the apartment she shares with an eccentric loner (Michael Rivkin) for some dark-night-of-the-soul chatter and a will-they-or-won’t-they romantic flirtation.
But is Holly what she seems? And is Ken really done with his marriage? Those and other questions are opaquely answered — or not — over the course of the next day with this smart, intriguing film ending perhaps too soon for more inquiring minds.
Director Debra Eisenstadt, who also edited and co-wrote with Zeke Farrow, effectively draws us into Ken’s challenging world and conflicted psyche, aided immeasurably by actor-comic Dawes’ dimensional, empathetic performance.
‘Before the Sun Explodes’
Running time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood; also on VOD
Only good movies
Get the Indie Focus newsletter, Mark Olsen's weekly guide to the world of cinema.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.