Tomorrow You're Gone

Tomorrow You're Gone


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Charlie (Stephen Dorff) is just out of prison. This wouldn't be so bad in itself, but he owes a favour to a convict played by Willem Dafoe - never a good idea. The favour, when called, involves committing a murder, and Charlie may not be up to the job. In the meantime, he is picked up on a train by sometime porn star Florence (Michelle Monaghan), a mysterious and sensual women who seems to offer a chance at a better life - if he doesn't drag her into the downward spiral of his first.

At some point in their early careers, many indie directors flirt with the dreamlike style and narratives of David Lynch. Few carry it off quite so well. Whilst this doesn't have the depth or impact of the master's work, it certainly succeeds when it comes to mood, largely thanks to the work of cinematographer Michael Fimognari and a dark jazz soundtrack put together by Madeleine Molyneaux. Storywise, it seems to approach Lost Highway from an oblique angle, with repeated shots of white lines trailing off into darkness, brunettes and blondes who seem to change places, and Charlie's disintegrating sense of self. There's room for this. Lynch has always approached film as conversation, interlinked with other works of art in multiple directions. Tomorrow You're Gone comes across like a dream perspective on that highway, not stealing from it but, rather, contributing to a greater whole.

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Like many films based around dream imagery and mood, it's weaker when it comes to story, with intriguing ideas ultimately going nowhere. This kind of storyline is difficult to pull off well and Matthew F Jones' script isn't quite tight enough to succeed. There is, however, plenty of good stuff along the way. Whilst Dorff is fairly blank in the central role, Monaghan is superb, creating a character whose unlikeliness doesn't detract from her believability. For her Florence, everything is rooted in the moment; her passivity is connected to an acceptance that the world is chaotic which, for Charlie, could be wisdom. Meanwhile, Charlie is experiencing déjà vu, to the point where he begins to catch glimpses of himself in the past. This is subtly done at first and builds effectively. Has something happened to the world or simply to his mind? Can he live with what he has done or is yet to do?

Despite its incoherence, Tomorrow You're Gone is often compelling, more successful than many of its contemporaries at portraying disorganised lives. It hints at a considerable talent that may come to the fore when director David Jacobson is ready to speak with his own voice.

Reviewed on: 19 Mar 2013
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A man emerges from prison with an obligation to commit murder but nothing goes quite to plan, from his unexpected emotional journey to his increasingly strange visions.
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Director: David Jacobson

Writer: Matthew F Jones

Starring: Stephen Dorff, Michelle Monaghan, Willem Dafoe

Year: 2012

Runtime: 92 minutes

Country: US


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