Before We Go
It’s not that actor Chris Evans has made a particularly bad film with his debut effort as a director, but he’s certainly made something that aims low and still feels fairly uninspired. There’s plenty of “witty” banter, little substance that makes sense, and a pair of leads (including Evans) that don’t match well with each other.
Brooke (Alice Eve) has missed the last train from New York’s Grand Central Station to Boston at 1:30 in the morning, and she really needs to beat her husband home in the morning. Having had her purse stolen and her phone broken in the mad dash, she’s desperate to find a way back by morning. Enter Nick (Evans), a visiting trumpet player in town for an important audition, who agrees to help her hustle some cash for an alternate way home. They spend the night talking about feelings and stuff and sharing secrets about how their lives aren’t very well put together.
It’s not only a stereotypical meet-cute situation from the drabbest of rom-coms and second tier dramas, stuffed with scenes that have Evans and Eve trading fast paced verbal jabs and bon mots back and forth. They’re never all that funny, but at least Evans seems to be having a blast making the kind of film he wants to make on his own terms. That energy goes a long way, and at times saves the production from itself even if he has quite a way to go as a filmmaker.
The biggest problems here are the complete lack of chemistry between Evans and Eve and loopy characterization that for no good reason will turn otherwise smart characters into idiots simply to move the story along. If you think about their journey for even a second, you’ll realize nothing they do makes sense.
You know how some people make slasher films and cheap thrillers as their debut projects because they don’t take a lot of effort to make? That same kind of economy applies to Evans’ efforts here. There’s just enough interest in the material to sustain its existence.
Saturday, September 13th, 12:15pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
Sunday, September 14th, 8:45pm, Scotiabank 4