Before I Disappear


Adventure / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 37%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 67%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 9440

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 17, 2021 at 12:57 AM


Fatima Ptacek as Sophia
Joe Perrino as Ellis
Anthoula Katsimatides as Annoying Woman #2
Stephanie Kurtzuba as Blonde Woman
902.49 MB
Unknown language 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 38 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by StevePulaski 9 / 10

Where realism meets surrealism

"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 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.

Reviewed by secondtake 7 / 10

Focused on the rougher side of hipster Brooklyn and one man's disjointed journey to survive

Before I Disappear (2014)

I almost didn't give this a chance because it starts with a lot of moments—and scenes— made for effect. I was worried that it was all about creating a party scene underworld in Brooklyn and the characters and plot would suffer. Wrong. It clicks by the end.

One problem might be (at first)—there are no sympathetic characters. I know we are supposed to relate to the lead, Richie played by Shawn Christensen. But he's so abusive and violent at times, and frankly stupid (or misguided), it's hard to be on his side. More likely we just watch and marvel.

In a way, the little girl who is the pivot around which everything eventually moves is also annoying—a little brat. She's played by Fatima Ptacek, and we eventually warm to her, too. Her mother (Richie's sister) is completely annoying, and the various "friends" and work associates of Richie are also unpleasant.

But that's part of the idea. Richie is surrounded by an ominous, negative world. He works as a janitor in a lively late night club, and the throbbing darkness there wears everyone out—the club owner, the patrons (one of whom is found dead), and Richie. It's a terrific setting for a movie however, and one of the amazing qualities of this film is the way it creates these sleazy, drugged up—and no doubt exciting—scenes so well.

By the end of the movie I was totally into it. I wish I hadn't had to wait to long to like it so much, but sometimes the best movies demand a little perseverance. I suggest giving this a long-sighted try.

Reviewed by Seraphion 5 / 10

Nice story building but without a strong conclusion

Richie is so stressed out with all the combinations of missing his girl Vista, out of a job, and most dominantly drugs consumption effects. He knows that this can out right be his last day to live due to being out of money to get more drugs. Suddenly his distanced sister Maggie calls, yelling at her asking for a favor to pick up her daughter Sophia from school. Richie and Maggie hasn't contact each other for about five years. But Richie agrees to help. Looking dosed, he picks up Sophia, who immediately emits a very non-friendly aura on him. Richie goes home after Sophia tells him he can do so. At home he finds out that his friend wrongly supplied menopausal treatment pills to him.Maggie calls her again, furious to know that Richie left Sophia alone. Richie then picks up Sophia and takes her away from Maggie's apartment on Maggie's orders due to her being arrested. He tells Sophia that he used to draw cartoon on flip books. One of the characters he created was named Sophia, which Maggie really liked.

Richie doesn't want Sophia In his place, so he takes her to other places instead. He takes her to a bowling alley but she prefers to do her homework there. The alley's owner Gideon asks Richie about Gideon's girl, to which he doesn't answer completely honest. Richie then takes Sophia to his ex apartment to retrieve his old flip books but the visit terrifies her. Sophia is calmed after seeing the flip book. Richie's drug effects takes a toll on him as he suddenly bleeds. Sophia rushes to save him and succeeds. Richie also goes and beats Maggie's ex husband for mocking Sophia. Richie takes Sophia while he meets his drug seller Bill. He remembered seeing Gideon's girl dying on Bill's toilet. He immediately takes Sophia out of there. As Sophia asks, Richie explains the distanced relationship between him and Maggie. Richie takes Sophia back to Maggie's place as Sophia asks. He can't get in because the guards there kick him out due to property distraction earlier that day. He goes to Gideon and tells the truth. He then goes back home and imagines Vista again.

Okay, the story tried to mix in the fairly distanced concepts of a drug addict's world and family reconciliation, the latter being the more dominant. I have to say that it is quite an attempt. Yet it sure does result in a not so tight finished product of a story. The two main concepts alternately fill the movie's focus from time to time. But the movie finds it hard to have the two concepts at a combined focus on a single event on screen.

The story goes quite well enough with its way of approaching its themes alternately. Quite frankly it feels like quite a stable story of two alternating sub stories. The momentum building is nice and the conflict unveils itself neatly. At the focus of Richie's addiction, it's nice to see how he fights to get a grip on things of life, even though today may be his last day. At the family reconciliation between Richie and Sophia, it's nice to see how Richie unfolds detail by detail of him and Maggie to Sophia, changing Sophia's view to him.

But it proves that the movie finds it hard to give the one final touch for its ending. The final conflict, or should I say conflicts, seem off in connection to the hallucinated and spiteful story building of the entire movie duration. The confrontation with Gideon feels quite stupid to me despite it's very nice of Richie to square things off with him. The conversation with the released Maggie feels quite right and it's nice to see that Maggie gives in a little bit to include Richie in Sophia's life. Yet it doesn't really connect to Richie 's drug problem.

The acting overall is just a decent work. Shawn Christensen did well in depicting the dosed yet caring uncle who voluntarily steps out of his niece's life to help her from bad influence such as he is. His expressions are very nicely done; the glazed stare, the angry outbursts, the painful moments. Fatima Ptacek did very good in portraying the distanced yet slowly drawn back in niece. She is nicely confident in her acting as seen on the difference between the assassin-face gymnastics and the bowling alley dancing scenes.

For me Before I Disappear (2014) is worth a 5 out of 10 score. It's a good job in overall but it could have been even better if only the story can give a better final conflict and ending. A recommendation is unfortunately out of the question for me.

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