Before I Disappear 2014 (2014) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: At the lowest point of his life, Richie gets a call from his estranged sister, asking him to look after his eleven-year old niece, Sophia, for a few hours. Runtime: 93 mins Release Date: 28 Nov 2014
Gritty, humorous film with a lot of heart (by nicciw1987)
I saw this film at NorthEast Film Festival in NJ and from the moment this film started I was swept up and there is not a second that your mind wanders, every second of this film is visually stunning and diverse. You can't help but root and fall in love with Richie Shawn Christensen as he struggles through the evening's events. The dynamic between him and Sophia Fatima Ptacek is like catching lightning in a bottle, they make a fantastic duo. Fatima does a wonderful job of transitioning the younger Sophia from 'Curfew' to a more mature Sophia in 'Before I Disappear'. <more>
Even though the story is about a lot struggles and heartache, there are moments that have you laughing out loud. Each supporting character to Richie and Sophia's journey is so well cast. Paul Wesley as Gideon is simply phenomenal, as he creates a very diverse character within only a few appearances on screen. He manages to create so many subtle undertones with a performance that doesn't hit over the head with it, but leaves you with a deeper understanding of the character. Emmy Rossum as Maggie does an outstanding job of creating a real and emotional counterpart as the mother to Sophia's character. Ron Perlman is as fantastic as always and creates a very chilling presence on screen. Hats off to the multi talented Shawn, for directing, starring, writing and composing for this beautiful surprise of a film.
Indie Filmmaking at its Finest (by moviewriterlaca)
Shawn Christensen's Oscar Winning Curfew was a wonderful piece of filmmaking, and I was worried that the feature version "Before I Disappear" would be just more of the same. I was pleasantly surprised and this expanded version took wonderful to extraordinary.One of Shawn's many accomplishments in this film was his deft transition of the Sophia character from precocious little girl to self-realized adolescent, who has it together a hell of a lot more than her uncle.It took me a little time to warm up to Emmy Rossum's character -- as in how could she have a child that old <more>
-- but a few lines to clear that up -- and boom, all taken care of. Emmy's vulnerability and willingness to go to a very raw place near the end of the film was beautiful to watch. Shawn's expanding the characters I loved in the short and adding new characters, played by Paul Wesley and Ron Perlman was terrific. Who knew that Wesley could bring such depth to a character that could have come off as horribly one-note?The cinematography was brilliant. The choice of color was truly inspired.This is definitely a virtuoso piece of indie filmmaking, and deserving of every award it has picked up on the film festival circuit. My only regret is that this film should be opening in a hell of a lot more theaters this awards season. If you love indie filmmaking, you need to see this film as soon as possible,
It's becoming increasingly harder and harder these days to find films in the theater that stand out and really make a memorable impact. This gem of a feature, expanded from an Oscar- winning short Curfew , makes that rare leap from one form to another without losing its magic. Although I knew the basic story since I had seen the short, I was pleasantly surprised by the whole of this film - compelling characters not just the amazing leads Christensen, Ptacek and Rossum are perfectly cast , but even supporting ones , unexpectedly funny, the MUSIC!!, the tone/color/cinematography, and of <more>
course, the story itself. All of these various factors melded together into that rare magical alchemy that produces the perfect film. I would love to delve into more detail here, but don't want to spoil anything. Christensen is obviously one to watch for. I am in awe that he wrote, directed and starred in this project, and am already looking forward to his future work. Much respect.
Amazing feature length debut for a writer/director/actor. (by Lowbacca1977)
A few years ago, Shawn Christensen won an Oscar for his amazing live- action short called Curfew, focused on a man in despair and contemplating suicide that gets the first chance to spend time with his niece, now around 11 years old. The short was very deserving of that Oscar, and Christensen took an interesting route to build on that by starting with that same initial story and fleshing it out into a full feature length film.On one hand, I would like to see him go into something new with the same finesse that he showed in Curfew, and I feel like there's directions he went here that <more>
didn't feel as genuine as some aspects of the same characters in Curfew.On the other hand, though, he kept many of the key moments and feelings from the short, while fleshing out so much more to it. I do also very much like that Fatima Ptacek returns as Tabitha, the niece, as she had a great performance in the short, and she does just as strong of a job here. This film really wouldn't be as strong as it is without her.Christensen plays the lead role as well as directing, and while he's good in front of the camera, it's behind the camera that's really what impresses me. The style and flow of the short was good, but he does so much more here, and there's a very strong visual presence in so many scenes that it really sticks with me. This includes not only some of the more fanciful parts, like an expanded version of the music number from the short to simple shots, like the phone on the floor at the start of the film.What really strikes me is how he managed to take a short and really not dilute it when he extended it out to feature-length, and it still maintains its emotional center, and I think that shows a lot of creativity and skill as both a writer and a director. I really hope that this film does well enough that it opens the doors to more work by Christensen, although I can't help but feel that with the quality of this film, it will do so.
"Before I Disappear" was birthed from director Shawn Christensen's 2013 short film "Curfew," which won Best Live Action Short Film at the Academy Awards that year. I remember watching the short film and simply being captivated by its portrayal of ugly yet realistic characters in a seamy environment, so much so that I called it "a wonderful exercise in style, emotion, human interaction, and existential purpose." With the accolades and recognition "Curfew" received, it was only a matter of time before the short would be adapted into a feature-length <more>
project, and, thankfully, the core focus of the film and its characters didn't find themselves lost in translation.This is a film of tone, realism and germane surrealism, and companionship, four ideas that one would assume would make for an awkward, uneven film but mesh so well together thanks to Christensen's carefulness that the end product is something to behold. The film concerns Ritchie Christensen , an aimless and depressed twentysomething working for a seedy nightclub run by Bill Ron Perlman . His will to live is waning day-by-day after his girlfriend Vista has mysteriously disappeared, and, upon finding the corpse of a young female in the nightclub bathroom, Ritchie is ready to call it quits.He goes home, fills a bathtub full of water, and proceeds to take a sharp razor and slit his wrists, ending his miserable existence. His suicide attempt is interrupted by Maggie "Shameless"'s Emmy Rossum , who phones him asking to pick up her eleven-year-old daughter Sophia Fátima Ptacek, who voices Dora on "Dora the Explorer" from school and look after her while she takes care of other things. Reluctantly, Richie exits hit bloody bathtub, bandages his wrists, throws on old clothes, lights a cigarette and heads off to pick Sophia up. Sophia is exactly the kind of precocious tot that Richie needs in his life, regardless of whether or not he knows it. Sophia is meticulous, organized, and grounded in a world where all there is is homework and poetry. She's drawn realistically and not conjured up from the barrage of clichés one expect from this character. She's sensitively played by Ptacek, who is only fourteen-years-old, and just when you think her character is a caricature, she surprises and comes to be a wonderful addition to not only the story but Richie's life.Richie and Sophia wander the streets, with Richie being hunted by loansharks and mob bosses for his failure to pay back old debts, going from several seedy locations before finding some sort of solace and connection at a bowling alley. This scene is almost identical in structure and setup as "Curfew," but with it being bookended by more familiarity and involvement with the characters, it takes on a greater significance. It provides for a momentary discourse in Richie's miserable existence, as he watches Sophia freely dance down the lane of the alley, with people shaking their hips with bowling balls in their hands at the front of each lane. This adds to the surrealism aspect I mentioned earlier, in that while "Before I Disappear" explores realistically-drawn characters with serious problems and shortcomings, it also welcomes intriguing surrealism into the mix, bending the reality our disillusioned character lives in. Consider when Richie takes a handful of menopause pills which he believes are sleeping pills that will turn fatal if he takes enough and hallucinates one of his collectors coming after him; it's one of the greatest surrealist scenes in a film predicated off of being human and realistic."Before I Disappear" has received the most flak from people who saw "Curfew," weren't a big fan of it to begin with, and then cringed at the thought of watching the short stretched out for ninety-three minutes. Those who enter blindly, and have never seen "Curfew," will likely get the most enjoyment out of it, or those, like me, who enjoy stories about believable and real characters, will find several things to appreciate.
I stumbled across it on Netflix, not expecting much, and was wildly surprised. It's beautiful and very well written and executed. A gorgeously poignant mood permeates the piece throughout, creating a near perfect setting. What could be a timeless story has just the right amount of contemporary sheen and grime and it delivers charm, heart, tears and pain all in enveloping beauty. Well directed, well shot and acted; just lovely really. If you can relate to equal amounts of hopelessness, depression and the blissful joy of life, you'll love this. What a gem by this new filmmaker. No <more>
gunfights, no car chases and no explosions, true. It was all done with an engaging story, cast and setting. Nicely sprinkled doses of subtle dark humor are also used just when they're needed. I love this film.
one of the best indie ever and one of the best movie of 2014 (by moviefan098)
I give this an 8 and I don't do it lightly. I'm also not rating it highly as an indie, it's good compared to any project. This movie is absolutely haunting. The writer has a deep understand of people and displays them so realistically. I really liked the fact that it didn't have cliché characters. The "gangsters" don't do what you expect them to do. The things people did in this movie weren't over the top, it felt very real.The cinematography and shots were fantastic in this movie. It was at times like a dream or an acid trip and it never felt out of place. <more>
The transitions between hallucinations and real life were not stark and abrupt like in other movies where someone is tripping. Shawn Christensen is going to be the director to watch out for in the future. The casting was perfect. Everybody was good. I just dislike Ron Perlman because he gets cast in this type of role in so many movies that it's starting to be a cliché, still he was great.Christensen is also a great writer. This movie was at once deeply sad and entertaining. Casting Fatima Ptecek as Sophia was perfect. She was the pillar of light for Richie's darkness and she was just a delight to watch. There really is something special about Ptecek. She's the next Abigail Breslin.
Shawn Christensen's direction in this film was positively extraordinary. (by shaunalcassity)
Another fascinating movie from SXSW I got to screen was Before I Disappear, one I wasn't sure I would enjoy but walked out of the room with a few tears streaming down my face, which never happens to me in cinema. Shawn Christensen's direction in this film was positively extraordinary.From the get go we see our main character Richie surrounded by poor life decisions that keep dragging him further and further down the rabbit hole; unable to crawl out of his own personal horrors and drowning in mournful regret, he decides he's going to end it. That is until he gets the phone call <more>
that changes the tone of the movie completely.A frantic phone call from his estranged sister has him picking up his niece from school and he had no idea why. He goes on an evening of half hallucinated, half sedated, adventures trying to juggle one bad situation while struggling with another. A battle between two bosses, both with whom he feels he owes loyalty; one begging for silence, the other for answers and neither an uncomplicated choice. All the while, he has an 11 year old girl, who is clearly raised to be prim and proper, completely oblivious to the underworld he's trolled, in tow witnessing his digression.Paul Wesley unquestionably stepped out of his comfort zone and brightly shined in the spotlight as the young club owner and boss in this film. Although both he and Ron Pearlman had minimal roles, it was definitely memorable as you felt the hectic panic in his drugged state and actually sympathized with his situation.This movie brings the uncomfortable truth to the surface, what it's like to battle with drug addiction, how it feels to suffer with loss and how some people cope with the choices... on the other side of the coin, how the family members tend to deal with these loved ones. I feel this movie did for drug addiction what Silver Linings Playbook did for people coping with being bipolar. It's ugly, it's messy but there are answers.... there is hope. .
Take a chance, you might really enjoy it (by nabokov95)
Firstly, I came to this movie without having seen "Curfew". Several commentators have pointed out that that is important in the way you see this movie so I'll get that out of the way to start with. I checked out the user score 7.2 at time of writing and the Meta score 47/100 at time of writing . A bit of a mismatch I thought and maybe it was down to the film being "upped" by users. We all know it happens right? Reviewers who come out of nowhere and submit one review giving a film 10 / 10 and then disappear as quickly as they appeared. All's fair in love and <more>
marketing . Anyway, as a result I decided to take a chance on it but with some reservations at the back of my mind and not really expecting anything that would really get me. What followed was rare, the realisation that the users had nailed it and the critics had really come down way too hard on this movie for all the wrong reasons. "Underwhelming, inconsistent, superfluous, bloated, meandering, posey, abrasive, over amped" to mention a few of the words used. I really don't know what film they were watching. Shawn Christensen, the writer, director and star of this film has already picked up an Oscar in 2013 for best Live Action Short but this film is dismissed as "not a bad freshman effort"? Ignore the critics and take a chance on this one. If you go in with an open mind and let yourself go with it's unusual flow you might really enjoy it. Finally, the cast were uniformly good. Fatima Ptacek, who I hadn't come across before, was brilliant, certainly one to watch, and Ron Perlman was Ron Perlman, nobody does that better than him.