ALL THE DAYS BEFORE TOMORROW review
"Days" of our lives. Beautifully shot indie romance treads familiar date-movie turf without succumbing to cliche
By Keith Carne
It's best to see Francois Dompierre's debut film, "All the Days Before Tomorrow," with someone else. It has "date movie" written all over it, but labeling it as such may be unfair.
The film is about companionship and how two people grow to love each other — even if their relationship is ambiguous. It is clear, however, that Wes Montgomery (Joey Kern) and Allison (Alexandra Holden) represent an often-exploited couple stereotype: friends who bond so profoundly that becoming a couple doesn't even occur to them.
Wes takes his name from the guitar legend, but unlike the influential jazz musician, this Wes can not improvise. In fact, his actions are often calculated — he authored a book titled "Entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics," refuses to dance at night clubs, and has trouble shifting his sleep schedule for late-night visitors.
Quite the opposite is Allison, Wes' spontaneous and beautiful friend. The two glide through their young adult lives together, sharing watermelon poolside at 2 a.m., chatting about Allison's plans with her current boyfriend, and lounging on the side of the Grand Canyon analyzing pop culture and its relationship to the human condition.
Like its "indie"-romance predecessor, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "All the Days" is told through a jumbled narrative, and it uses this device to its advantage. In one scene, Wes and Allison are in Los Angeles at an unspecified date, then it jumps to Montreal two years before, and, then, in the blink of an eye, we are in Wes' present dreaming brain.
This structure keeps their relationship ambiguous. We still don't know their history or whether or not their relationship has progressed — or ever will progress for that matter — past the platonic stage. It helps sustains the frustration all moviegoers undergo, hoping to see these two share more than just a peck on the cheek.
The film's stand-out achievement lies in its cinematography. Director of photography GAVIN KELLY perfectly captures both the soft, florescent whites inside apartment buildings and the florid sunsets over Arizona's Grand Canyon. His coloring adds a deft sense of vibrancy and sensuality to even the most basic, conversational scenes.
Though the film seems to feed off many of its genre's cliches — the wacky girl and boring guy who are friends but may grow into "something else" — "All the Days" is smart and enjoyable. Like a real relationship, the film's quirks grow on you.
Note: Look out for Shaft himself, Richard Roundtree, who plays a teen angel-type character in the dream sequences.