Visiting actress Michelle Monaghan shines in a suspenseful thriller about a botched hit—but Allison Brooks is left with a few questions.
Thursday night’s screening of Tomorrow You’re Gone filled Trustees Theater with excitement—and a little confusion.
Directed by David Jacobson, (Down in the Valley, Dahmer) the film follows Charlie Rankin (Stephen Dorff), a man fresh out of a four-year prison sentence. Indebted to his jailhouse mentor, “The Buddha” (Willem Dafoe), Charlie must carry out a hit against an unnamed man. When the hit goes horribly wrong, Charlie flees the scene and takes shelter at the apartment of Florence Jane (Spotlight Award recipient Michelle Monaghan), a porn star he meets on a bus. Although they have known each other for less than a day, the two explore the possibilities of a relationship.
Throughout the action, it’s unclear what events are real and what is happening inside Charlie’s mind. The scenes with “The Buddha” feel disjointed from the rest of the film, as do Charlie’s violent childhood memories. The camera goes out of focus during these scenes, almost like it’s blurring the line between imagination and reality.
Subtle religious themes woven throughout the film also create an eerie undertone. For example, Charlie appears distinctly uncomfortable in a church when Florence tells him to pray. When he sees a dead ram—an ambiguous symbol of sacrifice—in the middle of the road, Charlie stops his car and drags it out of the way. Such disquieting touches add depth and make the film memorable.
After the Savannah screening, however, mixed reviews filled the chill night air. One effervescent audience member said it was the best film of the entire festival. Her friend disagreed, adding that watching it one time was enough for her. Many remarked on Monaghan’s performance. “Her character is so insanely weird,” said one viewer.
Although the characters are compelling, the plot of Tomorrow feels incomplete. It’s if Jacobson has thrown his audience into the middle of a scene. We don’t even know who Charlie’s target is or why our protagonist is supposed to kill him. With a little more background information, the film would appeal to a much wider audience—even one as large as the Savannah Film Festival.