I watched a fantastic film last night. Featuring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, Before Sunset is one of those few movies that can pull off dialogue between two people for practically the entire film. And Hawke and Delpy do it with finesse. If you're looking for action, comedy or suspense don't bother with Before Sunset.
At the end of the movie I was so inspired to review the DVD's “special features” and that's where I found out the movie is a sequel to a film produced 9 years prior. Hawke plays an author who while on a book tour in Paris finds the lost love of his life and the subject of his best-selling book lingering in the back of the bookshop where he's signing autographs. The two actors played the same roles in the film “Before Sunrise” years ago. I haven't seen the original film and I never would have known there was a prequel had I not perused the “special features”.
Nine years ago our characters met and enjoyed a spectacular and romantic evening of love and lust. Now 9 years later that one night short affair still weighs heavy on the minds of both characters. The writing is superb and Hawke and Delpy's dialogue is so real, heartfelt and convincing as the time since the two last met shrinks. The cover topics from politics to true love and from dreaming to cyicism. The met on a train to Vienna 9 years earlier. They never exchange phone numbers but agree to meet in Vienna six months later. Hawke's character, Jesse makes the trip from the United States to Vienna but comes up empty handed. For nine years he thinks she blew him off, yet he can't stop forgetting about the one night of true love he writes a book about it. Delpy's Celine has read the book and confesses that days before she was supposed to be in Vienna to meet him her grandmother dies.
It's filmed in real time as Jesse must make it to the airport in less than two hours, but the two spend the nearly 90 minutes of the film confessing, exploring, wondering and dreaming. Amazing dialogue and the chemistry bewteen the two makes it so beliable.
So I rarely discuss film or due reviews of movies on the Digital Tavern, but I was taken back by this film due to it's ambitous writing and superbe acting and direction in an era where studios would rather play it safe than attempt something great. Before Sunset hinges on greatness and therefore a strong Allan Karl recommendation for those confused browsing NetFlicks or through the aisles of Blockbuster wondering what to watch on a cold winter day.
While on the topic of films, I stumbled back into Wonderchicken again. Another blogger who somehow has escaped my blogroll (but will be the first new addition in nearly 3 years). A traveler and great writer he reminded me of another film I used to love to watch during those cold winter afternoons back when I was a child living in Connecticut. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World flickered on screens in 1963 and featured the most impressive comedic cast in filmmaking history. Sadly because so many great comics are in the film, some are delt little or no lines. But that doesn't detract from the film
[…] I hadn't thought about the movie in decades, probably, media-starved and nomadic as I'd been during my wanderyears. It was, without exaggerating, one of the formative films of my young life. It helped make me the man I am today. I fired up the torrent and whispered a breathy 'woo hoo', so as not to wake up She Who Must Be Obeyed, and the downstream rate nudged its way up past 400Kb/s […]
Now Mr. Wonderchicken goes off on a wonderful tirade of how this film awakened the sexuality of his youth (don't be offended):
[…] but it (the movie) played so regularly as the background soundtrack to the pure unalloyed joy of smacking my weiner around like a pinata at a fat kid's birthday that they eventually merged into twin double-happiness somehow, back in the root of my pubescent lizard brain […]
Just being reminded of that movie and the image of Jim Backus (as my friend Tim Amos can so mimic this scene) wandering around the cockpit of a crashing plane wondering why he can't get a drink brings back memories. I think the next rainy day might be a mad, mad, mad, mad time!
Ahhh. Blogging. It's great to be back.