By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
After being somewhat disappointed with some of the films I had seen so far, this one came as a most pleasant surprise. Based on the Academy Award® winning short film, Curfew, Before I Disappear takes its audience on a night journey that will change the life of its lead character Richie (Shawn Christensen). Just when life doesn’t seem like it will get any lower or worse, Richie receives a surprising phone call from his sister Maggie (Emily Rossum). Richie’s estranged sister has gotten herself in a difficult situation, and needs him to pick up her daughter Sophia (Fatima Ptacek) from school and take care of her for the evening.
Written and directed by lead actor Christensen, Before I Disappear has much to offer audiences in terms of character development, comedic and dramatic writing, and is simply lovable. The story does go to some dark places, and is obviously not intended for young children, but teens and adults will appreciate and enjoy the developing relationship between estranged niece Sophia and her troubled uncle Richie. In addition to outstanding performances by Christensen, Ptacek, and Rossum, the movie also features solid turns by Paul Wesley, Ron Perlman, and Richard Schiff. As a writer, director, and actor Shawn Christensen proves his skills in front of and behind the camera. I look forward to more films by this uber-talented young man.