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Saturday, May 18, 2013
Some people enjoy a slow, experimental, rub-your-nose-in-it indy flick, while others would rather be entertained by something more down-to-earth that moves fast and doesn't require you to figure out what the hell's going on with every cryptic movement or utterance. TOMORROW YOU'RE GONE (2012) might as well have a dividing line between these two groups of viewers painted right down the middle of it.
Stephen Dorff (IMMORTALS, BLADE) is compelling as Charlie Rankin, a soon-to-be-released convict whose mentor, The Buddha (Willem Dafoe), promises to take care of Charlie if he'll just do him the favor of rubbing out one of his enemies. But the hit goes dreadfully wrong, and Charlie dreads the prospect of returning to the crime scene the next night to fix it. Especially after meeting Florence Jane (Michelle Monaghan, (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, MR. & MRS. SMITH), a sweetly eccentric porn actress who falls inexplicably in love with Charlie and tries to bring out the good qualities buried deep within him before he destroys himself.
Charlie is troubled with a capital "T"--director David Jacobson (DAHMER) has a field day depicting how constant mistrust, paranoia, and nightmares from his past skew his perception of reality until viewers themselves can't really tell what's real and what isn't. This calls for a variety of camera effects that some will find irritating, along with some creative editing that plays around with reality (he sees people who aren't there, including himself) to the point where you start wondering if you're watching an extended "Twilight Zone" episode.
After their "meet-cute" on a bus (actually, it's more of a "meet-weird"), we also wonder what the deal is with Florence and why Charlie is so instantly, irresistibly appealing to her. Is she an angel? Is she a figment of his imagination? Or is she just totally nutso? After the botched hit, the film becomes a mini-road movie when they buy a car and drive around the city all day waiting for nightfall when Charlie will deal with his unfinished business once and for all.
In one scene, they end up in a church as Florence urges him to open up a line with God and see if it isn't too late for a little redemption of his tortured soul. The rest of the time she's cajoling him to have sex with her as though she'd just gotten out of prison instead of him. I like her character, and Monaghan is very appealing in the role, but Florence is just too good, or too wild, or too weird to be true.
Eventually, the inevitable hour arrives when Charlie must either make good or lose his soul forever, with Florence and The Buddha (Willem Dafoe with his usual menacing performance) representing God and the Devil. After all the existential angst and art-house tomfoolery, it's nice that this meandering, disorienting character study manages to give us a semi-satisfying resolution that I found emotionally resonant.
The DVD from RLJ Entertainment is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound and subtitles in English and Spanish. No extras.
I liked TOMORROW YOU'RE GONE enough to watch it again and found the second viewing much more rewarding than the first, mainly because I could stop trying to figure out the plot (such as it is) and concentrate on all the hidden meanings (such as they may be). But a lot of you won't like this movie at all, and to you my description of it alone should serve as adequate warning.
Buy it at Amazon.com
Posted by porfle at 10:49 PM