Sometimes you just need to be smacked in the face with reality. Netflix is usually pretty good for that.
“Before I Disappear,” according to all I’ve read, was based on director Shawn Christensen’s 2013 short film “Curfew,” which won Best Live Action Short Film at the 2013 Academy Awards. I haven’t seen the short film, but based on this one, it’s probably pretty good.
Ritchie (Christensen) is an unremarkable and depressed twentysomething nightclub worker (Ron Perlman is fantastic as his boss), who has recently lost his girlfriend (literally, he can’t locate her) and discovered a corpse in a bathroom at his club. He is, he decides, at the end of his rope, and decides to end his life. His suicide attempt is interrupted by Maggie (Emmy Rossum),who asks him to pick up her daughter Sophia (Fátima Ptacek of “Dora the Explorer”) from school and look after her for a bit. Ritchie agrees (although I’m not sure babysitting while you are in the middle of killing yourself is appropriate), bandages his wrists, lights a cigarette and heads off to pick Sophia up. Sophia is organized and grounded in a world where she should be anything but, and she immediately becomes a beacon of hope for Ritchie.
The remainder of the film is pretty trippy – surreal scenes kind of blend into each other, there are debt collectors, mob bosses, and a bowling alley. I got a little confused a couple of times, but by the end I was in tears. I definitely need to seek out the short film and see if this elongated version does it justice.
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