by Jon Partridge
Before We Go marks the directorial debut of Chris Evans. Yes, old Cap himself finally followed through on his promise to move behind the camera. The “retiring from acting” part seems a little premature as he also stars in the film together with Alice Eve (Starter for 10, She’s Out of Your League). Leaving behind the big budget Marvelverse, he embraces a smaller, more intimate tale of two strangers meeting on one fateful night in New York.
Nick (Evans) is playing his trumpet in Grand Central station when a woman named Brooke (Alice Eve) rushes past and drops her phone, intent on catching the final train home. Failing, she finds herself stranded in the city, with no way home and, with her purse having been stolen earlier that evening, few options. After a few failed attempts by Nick to get her home, she becomes resigned to her fate of being stuck overnight and the pair begin to exchange stories of their life, loves, and past.
Before We Go is one of those destiny-fueled affairs where two strangers meet, initially bicker, but gradually strip down layers of each other to discover a connection has forged between them. The film is structured as you’d expect; it’s not bad but it is derivative, holding few surprises, the only real one being how little chemistry develops between Evans and Eve, two actors who are pretty notable for their screen presence.
Brooke’s need to return home is explained by a necessity to be there to save her marriage, one final shot to resolve things. Nick’s situation has him reuniting with a lost love on the eve of the most important audition of his career. Forsaking these two important distractions would require a developing spark, not just necessity; however this doesn’t develop. Neither do these looming events imbue the film with any real sense of urgency or importance. There is a stack of contrivances to force them together, followed by a string of moments such as crashing a party impersonating a band or pretending to call their past selves using often-encountered payphones to craft moments of sweetness, but these engender little from the viewer. The simple truth is that these are two gorgeous, talented people with careers seemingly on the rise, but it’s hard to feel sympathy for their ‘plight’ or anything to urge them on to be together.
Their journey together through various locations in New York holds interest; cinematographer John Guleserian together with Evans’ direction shows off the romantic sparkle of the city. Evans is his usual charming self in front of the camera, and in spite of the little chemistry between the pair, they each do well to craft believable characters with the material, Evans especially with his split duties on this outing.
THE PACKAGEThe transfer is solid, no artifacts or issues. Color and detail is good and goes some way to imbuing the film with interest. New York at night is a fascinating place. Special features are limited to a brief segment where Evans talks a little about his directorial debut experience and infusing some of his personal tastes into the film. A commentary which would have touched on the transition to being behind the camera and balancing directing/acting would have added much to recommend this package.
THE BOTTOM LINEBefore We Go bodes well for Evans’ future behind the camera. There is much to admire technically and aesthetically. However the derivative and undeveloped nature of the script and lack of chemistry between the leads means the film fails to make a real impression. More forgettable than anything else.
Before We Go is available on DVD & Blu-ray November 3rd, 2015.