6.3/10
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11 user 4 critic

The Life Before This (1999)

Several innocent bystanders are injured or killed when two robbers, fleeing from the police, run into the neighborhood cafe.

Director:

Jerry Ciccoritti

Writer:

Semi Chellas
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Catherine O'Hara ... Sheena
Joe Pantoliano ... Jake Maclean
Sarah Polley ... Connie
Stephen Rea ... Brian
Bernard Behrens ... Monsieur Farrin
Martha Burns ... Gwen Maclean
Fab Filippo Fab Filippo ... Michael (as Fabrizio Filippo)
Emily Hampshire ... Margaret
David Hewlett ... Nick
Leslie Hope ... Alice
Joel Keller ... Kevin
Dan Lett ... Sam
Carl Marotte ... Stan
Alison Pill ... Jessica
Callum Keith Rennie ... Martin Maclean
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Storyline

In Toronto, two criminals enter a café one evening and open fire against each other, leaving behind an establishment full of casualties. The stories of the day of many of those that are in the café at the time or could have been are told. Nick and Kevin are the two criminals who have just pulled off a heist, they dealing with an issue pertaining to Nick's wife, Alice. Sheena, a bridal store clerk, has had a bad history in her choice of men. She is trying to decide whether to meet or stand up her blind date for the evening. Jake, a lawyer, has defrauded one of his clients of $200,000 in the pressure he has felt in providing for his materialist wife Gwen's wants. An incident results in Jake needing to pay that money back immediately or probably be caught in his illegal actions. He has to decide if he will go to the one person he knows could help, but who he has long put out of his life out of moral judgment. Brian, a pest control technician, is having a sad day as a few incidents bring ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

live each day ... it may be your last.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English | French | Italian

Release Date:

24 October 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Zanim do tego dojdzie See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Thump Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

After the two gunmen run into the coffee shop and fire off a volley of shots, the camera pans those shot; including the young school girl who was held by one of the gunmen. As that gunman falls, he is holding her and they land with her about chest high, but in the next shot, she is lying considerably further away from the man. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Potential...Conclusion
31 March 2006 | by jpschapiraSee all my reviews

The Life Before This "The Life Before This" is one of those many unconcluded motion pictures events, where there's obviously a lot to say, but there's nothing said at all. It's one of those films with a spectacular premise that shows great promise, but has nothing to give; it is one of those projects where great actors use their talents while we wonder what the hell they are doing there. I remember "All The Rage".

So, as expected, it is unavoidable to watch the film after its introduction. You may think many times later, that there's no content in it, or that nothing's going to happen, but still you stay focused because the ending is something you want to see no matter what. Meanwhile, the music is intriguing, the stories are many, the characters are real and the performances are good.

Joe Pantoliano, always trustful, plays a lawyer with a big debt to pay. He has a brother who, he thinks, sells illegal substances and makes a lot of money for it. They don't speak, but Jake goes asking him for money, and the scene is quite interesting. In fact, many scenes are. Stephen Rea, as a hard working man who lost his daughter and probably himself, plays a part in two scenes that inspire trance.

Catherine O'Hara plays a single woman who was married and dated gay men, and is now looking for a date; but is too worried about what couples live every day and how difficult it is. Leslie Hope, David Hewlett and Joel Keller play a team (sort of) that wants to commit a robbery but have too much on their minds and a lot of preoccupations. A 20-year old Sarah Polley is superb as she moves in with her boyfriend, who wants to be the man of her life.

Emily Hampshire portrays Margaret, a girl with self-confidence issues, whose mother is an actress when she wants to act, but doesn't want her mother to know. Young Alison Pill is a very smart young girl, a prodigy that plays the violin and loves French, but wants to be with other more popular girls and do different stuff.

Believe or not, all of the situations I've explained have a connection. Is not the kind of connection you'd expect of a powerfully moving film where characters are the one with the connection and you can see it along the film. It is the type of film where the connection is determined by an event; an event that shows all of the characters.

There's one scene, of a young couple talking, about a train accident that happened the day before the movie takes place. "If I had been in the train, I wouldn't be with you here", the girl says. "Yeah, but you weren't and you are", the boy says to her. "But one little thing can change everything; If I hadn't chosen Biology class I wouldn't have met you and I wouldn't love you now".

That theory about one thing being able to change everything it is most likely what explains the last scene of the film that wants to be thought provoking and ends instantly. Canadian Director Jerry Ciccoritti hasn't done many things after this and hadn't done much before. Writer Semi Chellas worked his mind off to come up with this.

As I said, it was not a bad idea. But they both missed the emotional connection, and one subject that worked as the main core of their piece. This could have been a great film…It's bad.


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