Bleecker Street’s drama Sundown takes audiences on an introspective, character-driven journey of one man’s quiet crisis. We sat down with the film’s writer/director Michel Franco to discuss his inspiration for the film, and the challenges of bringing such an introspective drama to life on screen.

Sundown follows Neil Bennett (played by Tim Roth), a man who suddenly upends his own life and abandons his wealthy family during their time of crisis. During our interview, Franco revealed Neil’s feelings were inspired by his own kind of mid-life crisis.

“I wrote Sundown while in the middle of a personal crisis. I was obsessed with the big questions about life and where it all leads, what sense we can make of it,” said Franco.

Sundown certainly plays with some big questions about life, particularly when it comes to making big changes, our responsibility to ourselves and to others, and our familial and romantic relationships. In particular, Franco wanted to explore (and subvert) our own judgements of others while telling Neil’s story.

“I like challenging the audience in that way,” Franco said, “because normally scripts are developed on a very simple, patronizing basis of who’s good and who’s bad. And I like thinking it’s more like life. In life, many times we judge too early and we make mistakes… so I like presenting the audience with something that has many different readings.”

However, Franco added that walking that line could be difficult, especially in the filming process.

“Even though the script worked, it’s an unconventional film. I couldn’t direct Tim exactly,” said Franco. “It was very tricky, because it’s a film that happens within Tim’s character, so it’s very hard to shoot.”

To learn more about the challenges and intricacies of Sundown, check out our full interview with Franco below.

Sundown premiered in theaters January 28.