Before I Disappear.
Earning more points for visual panache than for emotional truth, writer-director-star Shawn Christensen's "Before I Disappear" chronicles one long, dark night of the soul for a suicidal screw-up whose need for salvation could only have been made more obvious if the filmmakers had forced him to drag a deadweight behind him the whole time. Which, In a manner of speaking, they have: From the moment our tortured hero gets saddled with a hyper-precocious niece, this pseudo-gritty descent Into a shady New York underworld reveals Its soft, contrived center. Too overwrought to really convince or resonate, yet assembled with enough flair to work as a solid calling card for its debuting helmer, the pic should continue to make festival Inroads after its audience-award win at SXSW. Theatrical prospects look niche-y.
DIRECTOR: Shawn Christensen
CAST: Shawn Christensen, Fatima Ptacek, Emmy Rossum, Paul Wesley, Richard Schiff, Ron Perlman, Isabelle McNally, Joe Perrino, Hani Avital