Michael Sauter
October 27, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Life Before This

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
92 minutes
performer
Sarah Polley, Stephen Rea
distributor
First Look
genre
Drama

We gave it a C+

First, a shoot-out in a coffee shop kills several innocent bystanders. Then, the needlessly gimmicky film The Life Before This flashes back a few hours to reconstruct — or rather, revise — the events leading up to the tragedy. Not content to contemplate the fateful intersection of lives, the filmmakers tinker with their characters’ destinies, adding little ”What if?” twists that result in a different, but equally arbitrary, outcome; an anticlimactic cosmic shrug. C+

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