Before We Go: Chris Evans' Directorial Debut Review

Remember that time I was gorgeous and you were gorgeous and we both had really bad luck one night so fate brought us together? Yeah, me neither. But this is the basic premise of Chris Evans' directorial debut Before We Go also starring Chris Evans and Alice Eve.

Nick Vaughan, played by Evans, is hiding out in Grand Central Station when he sees a woman, played by Alice Eve, run past, dropping her phone and sadly missing her train. When he follows her - who we learn is named Brooke Dalton - to return the phone, the situation turns into what can only be described as a slightly aggressive good deed. One which doesn't stop for 2 hours as Nick continuously tangles himself in her personal life's problems and resolutions. At first she seems uncomfortable with his intrusive behavior, but after about 15 minutes of film time she's okay with it and off they go on an all night roam around New York on a multitude of "I have an idea!" poorly thought out but heartfelt obstacles to get from point a to point b.

Can I just stop everyone right here? Remember what I said above about "gorgeous/gorgeous/fate?" I lived in NYC for years and I just want to point out that if this situation happened to me I'd be trying to shake Zach Galifianakis the rest of the night. Never would I have had the unfortunate problem of Chris Evans trying to solve my predicament. Moving on.

Keeping in mind this is a low budget indie film everything moves slowly and I enjoyed that aspect. The characters begin to open up to one another about why they were in Grand Central. Nick is supposed to be at a party where his ex-girlfriend will be. Six years ago he was going to propose to her and on the same day she said they needed a break. He has yet to come to terms. Brooke needs to get home to Boston before her husband, though it isn't until the end of the movie we really find out why. This helps set the tone. They are enjoying one another's company but they really are strangers. Nick wants to change that, Brooke isn't so sure.

Chris Evans has a tendency to play the romantic hero when he isn't fighting super villain crime. As we've seen in the recent Playing It Cool and What's Your Number? from 2001 he falls easily into the 'look how I, as in me right here, can help you have a better life' character. And this is exactly what he's done with Before We Go. It feels good, it feels comfortable. And for his first run out the gate juggling two huge jobs it was a good choice because he nailed it.

It's no surprise Evans is a triple threat this time around. This is his directorial debut but he is also starring in the movie and producing. Oh and he plays a trumpet. For the love is there anything Chris Evans can't do? No, I'm really asking. So if someone has an answer, please feel free to leave it in the comments.

Evans did a good job with what he had in front of him. The problem with Before We Go was the writing. He chose a script with 4 writers. A screenplay with one writer is a good number. A writing partner is never a bad idea and sometimes can bring out the best in both of you. Bringing someone into your partnership is a recipe for disaster. But bringing a fourth writer into your screenplay is just, well I don't even know what to say. Evans took a chance picking up this script and it didn't do him any favors. Critics may use fancier words to describe it but the honest truth is the script was simply bland. And Evans made the best of it.

An aspect I enjoyed was his choice of location in New York City. A recurring theme in Before We Go is that neither Brooke nor Nick have cash, or credit cards or even a working phone. It's like the 1900's. There are even scenes where they find payphones so they can call their past selves as a cute pretend game to pass the time and learn more about one another while revealing more of their character and backstory to the audience. I don't think there are that many payphones left in NYC.

But I digress. They are poor and unplugged therefore we are led to believe there couldn't be a single place they could go so they wander aimlessly around side streets of the city that never sleeps. If he had instead decided to keep them in a central area of the city, heck even the Hyatt Grand Central a step away from their original meeting place, there would have been numerous places for them to spend their time, even at odd hours they could have sat inside hotel lobbies without as much as a second look from the staff. *Side note. They do hit a hotel or two for different reasons. Look for Scott Evans, Chris' brother, as the front desk clerk.*

But then we wouldn't have had much of a movie would we? And on the side streets is where Evans seizes his moment to shine. He takes us to dive bars and to sleazy parts of town that set our story in motion. He gives us the chance to find out if Brooke can sing and then she tells us the secret of hotel graffiti. Evans sets the scene for best friends and broken hearts and it's hard to watch because we knew it was coming and then it still does. We watch the pair visit a psychic they bump into taking out his trash who gives them both a free reading just for the company. We're taken to a well known even if unknown coffee house where things heat up just to fall apart and those are the scenes where Chris Evans gets to sit down in that directors chair and own it.

But here's my fear for Chris, we're gonna go ahead and call him Chris right now because I'm basically looking at him and giving him the low down. He signed the hefty Marvel Universe contract years ago before he had a chance to spread his wings. Now he's taken on a huge fan base that love him for one character unforgivably. This fan base might not be sold on the indie film passion his heart wants to follow.

Now I want to scream at them "Have you seen Iceman? Have you seen SnowPiercer?" The recent limited release Playing It Cool had many admirable romantic Evans character qualities that could have warmed people up to Before We Go, had anyone seen it. But this is where the problem lies, it might take a Marvelotta years for this fan base to catch up.

My point is Before We Go could have possibly been doomed from the beginning. A box office blockbuster movie star goes romantic indie movie for his directorial debut? On top of it he decides to star in it as well surely losing focus on one aspect or the other. So what's the verdict?

My opinion of Before We Go: the movie itself is a bit of a bland cliche even when trying not to be. However I don't hold much of that against the director. I enjoyed it very much because I genuinely enjoy Chris Evans' work and a slow indie film set to a slightly depressing but familiar soundtrack is just so up my alley. As a whole Evans did a good thing here. If he wants to continue down this independent film path he just needs to keep his head above water while the rest of his fan base catches up and think harder before picking scripts. Or I wonder, if Evans would consider adding his name to the writers category as well?

Before We Go will open to limited release Nationwide September 4. You can find it now on Amazon, Google Play and iTunes.

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