Before We Go
Alice Eve, Chris Evans
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“Borrowing heavily from the works of Linklater…”
Chris Evans trades in the red, white and blue battle armour for his directorial debut that sees two people meeting by chance and sharing a night walking the streets of New York.
Borrowing heavily from the works of Linklater, Evans plays Nick, a young trumpeter coming to the aid of Brooke (Alice Eve); stranded in New York after losing her purse and missing the last train home. Despite not being part of Marvel’s cinematic universe, Evans still gets to play the hero it seems.
Perhaps one of the film’s strengths is its inversion of tropes, with the character of Nick sketched up as a gender reversal of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Whilst Brooke stifles in her starchy collar, Nick bounces around showing her how to grab life by the horns. It certainly makes a change from the usual formula of middle aged man learns life lesson from a woman half his age.
Films like Brief Encounter and Before Sunrise work because of the rounded characters on display. We can feel them living off screen. That just doesn’t happen here. Despite the charismatic nature of both the leads, Before We Go is a light affair that never really does more than scratch the surface of their characters. Which is frustrating considering how much time they spend together. They share misty side eyes, whilst getting into sweet escapades that see them crashing parties and pretending to time travel. If it sounds a little cute, that’s because it is. Even the presence of the shifty gang who stole Brooke’s purse offer nothing that can shatter this idyllic evening.
That said, Evans has a good command of the camera, filtering the lightweight tale through a fairytale lens. In terms of a debut, its safe, sturdy and, if he challenges himself, shows promise.