Before and After

Bomb Rating: 

This is being touted as a film that gets people talking after they come out of the theater, presumably because the film is controversial or something. "Before and After," however, is merely melodramatic, and the only thing it made me want to talk about was what a big idiot Jacob Ryan's (Edward Furlong) father, Ben (Liam Neeson) is. Jacob's father destroys evidence after finding out Jacob might have murdered his girlfriend.

Instead of the potentially fascinating exploration director Barbet Schroeder could have taken into the screwed up nature of the modern American legal system, he treats us to the dull and unoriginal theme of: Truth good; coverup bad. In Hollywoodese this translates into: You stupid; story simple.

The filmmakers could have driven down any one of a number of avenues, but preferred instead to steer their buggy down Main Street. What if Jacob and his parents did nothing wrong, played by the rules, yet Jacob was convicted anyway? What if Ben destroyed evidence that turned out to be the only thing that could prove his son's innocence? What if the deadly Ebola virus got loose in this sleepy New England town and threatened the safety of the entire nation? Any of these developments would have resulted in a much-improved film.

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