BEFORE: I was very excited to watch Before And After (1996). The cast looked really good, with two of my all-time favorite performers in the film, Liam Neeson and Meryl Streep, and Edward Furlong and Alfred Molina have done some good work in the past as well. A crime/thriller film about one family's divided reaction to their son being accused of murder, I had high hopes that this film would have uncertainty and drama lurking in every scene and thickening of the plot. Did I find a hidden gem of a film?
Well, that was before.
AFTER: I found out that I had been gypped out the few dollars I paid to rent the film. If you are looking for a film with great performances, script, or cinematography, then Before And After is a film you should skip as everything that goes into this film is about as captivating and worthwhile as reading the phone book. The story is not good at all, very predictable but more importantly it is just not interesting or enjoyable at all. Also, Before And After is a geyser of melodrama - at a certain point you just cannot take it anymore and long for the down-to-earth tones of ABC Family.
Then we have the performances.... Ouch. Meryl Streep does an overall good job as a mother who has to deal with her son being a murder suspect and Alfred Molina does a bang-up job as the no-holds-barred lawyer. But oh!- poor, poor Liam Neeson. He has so many outstanding performances in his career that makes him one of the best actors living today; even in bad films Neeson has been able to give a good individual performance. However his performance Before And After cannot be added to his great list. To be fair, Neeson does have to portray a terrible character, doing things that make no sense at all throughout the entire film, so it comes as no surprise that the performance itself is lacking. Still, he is not the same Liam Neeson in this film that I am used to seeing, as he has given amazing performances before and after he did Before And After. Neeson does not even come close to giving the worst performance of the film however, Edward Furlong has seen better on-screen works and Julia Weldon is just plain horrible - and you can only laugh at her pathetic performance for so long before you just start getting irritated.
I cannot say that I would ever recommend this film.
CBC Rating: 4/10