Before I Disappear
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McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Ptacek, as she was in the short, makes a great foil. And the addition of Rossum and Perlman to the cast adds pathos and paranoia, guilt and menace.
Before I Disappear features several moments of genuine emotion in an otherwise underwhelming plot involving the main character coming out of his shell. It's a heartfelt journey, but we've seen it before, without the excess distractions.
Even at its most compelling, it remains inconsistent and superfluous, a lesson that sometimes a movie can feel more fully formed in 19 minutes rather than 90.
The A.V. Club
The result is predictably, frustratingly bloated and meandering, even as the short’s charms remain largely intact.
Isn't a bad freshman effort, but it doesn't offer anything to set it apart from dozens of other indie dramedies.
The fundamental predictability of Before I Disappear’s main plot is just one of the missteps that betray Christensen’s inexperience.
The Hollywood Reporter
With nary a likable character in sight until the late arrival of some unearned emotion in the closing scenes, this is a posey, abrasive drama, though one that's stylishly made and acted with more conviction than the script merits.
Piling on the misery-laden subplots in scene after angry, overamped scene, Before I Disappear is the sort of movie that can’t stop reminding you how cruel the world is and how messed up its people are, to the point where its bludgeoning cynicism feels no more authentic or lived-in than the glimmer of hope that suddenly breaks on the horizon.
What makes this minefield of sphincter-clenching sassy bons mots even harder to stomach is the uninspired photography, which impassionedly pleads for significance through use of slow motion, bokeh-effect streetlights, and close-ups.
Mr. Christensen the director betrays Mr. Christensen the actor too many times to count, but it’s worth noting that his eclectic tastes in source music includes Beethoven’s “Fur Elise,” Bizet’s “Habanera” from Carmen, and Billie Holiday.
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