Saturday, June 01, 2013

Before Sunrise

Directed by Richard Linklater and written by Linklater and Kim Krizan, Before Sunrise is the story about an American man and a French woman who meet on a train to Vienna as they spend the day in the city walking and talking about life, love, and all sorts of things. The film is the first of a series of films that explores the lives of two people who meet on one entire day in Vienna where they fall in love and deal with the ideas of love. Starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Before Sunrise is a charming yet sensational film from Richard Linklater.

The film is the simple story about an American named Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and a French student named Celine (Julie Delpy) who meet on a train to Vienna as they chat about love and all sorts of things where they arrive to Vienna as they spend the entire day in the city. During the course of the film, the two go into various conversations about the idea of love as the cynical Jesse doesn’t believe in true love due to his experience of going through a bad relationship as well as the fact that his parents have divorced. Celine is more idealistic as she had just gone to Budapest to visit her grandmother as the two spend all of Vienna encountering a few people and talking about the ideas of love.

The screenplay by Richard Linklater and Kim Krizan doesn’t really have much of a plot as it’s more driven by dialogue and how the relationship between Jesse and Celine evolves in the course of an entire day. Notably as it plays to the sense that these are characters in their 20s both trying to find some idea of love no matter how dreary it can be or the kind of happiness they can bring. Jesse and Celine may have opposite views but they share the idea of love as they both are yearning for something that can bring them happiness. Even as these two try to ponder about everything had been through up to this day where they meet and spend the entire day and night in Vienna.

The direction of Richard Linklater is quite simplistic and to the point as he does make Vienna a character in the story. Yet, he goes for a sense of looseness in the direction where he tries to see how these two people will react to a situation or a place they’ve been through. While there are moments that are dramatic, there’s also some light-hearted moments including a conversation where they both pretend to be each other’s friends about the day they’ve experienced. Linklater knows where to place the camera in these intimate moments with medium shots and some wide shots to capture where they at. It does play to the idea that these two people are experiencing something that can probably happen once in a lifetime and might happen all over again. Overall, Linklater creates a ravishing yet engaging film about romance and its ideas.

Cinematographer Lee Daniel does excellent work with the film‘s cinematography to capture the beauty of the city with its daytime and nighttime exterior scenes along with a few interior settings to enhance its mood. Editor Sandra Adair does fantastic work with the editing as it‘s very straightforward without delving into style except for a montage in the end. Production designer Florian Reichmann does wonderful work with some of the minimal set pieces from the record store to a club Jesse and Celine go to. Costume designer Florentina Welley does nice work with the costumes to play up the sense of casualness in the characters. Sound editor Tom Hammond does terrific work with the sound to capture some of locations and places the characters go to. The film’s music soundtrack consists of some original score music by Fred Frith that is low-key in its classical setting while the rest of the soundtrack consists of classical music by Johann Strauss, Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Henry Purcell, and Ludwig Van Beethoven along with some contemporary music ranging from rock to folk.

The casting by Alycia Aumuller and Judy Henderson is brilliant as it features some notable appearances from Adam Goldberg as a sleeping train passenger, Dominik Castell as a street poet, Tex Rubinowitz as a man on the bridge, Erni Mangold as a palm reader, and Andrea Eckert and Hanno Poschl as a bickering couple on the train. The film’s best performances definitely go to Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in their respective roles as Jesse and Celine. Hawke brings a coolness to Jesse as a guy who seems jaded but also has a sense of charm as he’s willing to see what could happen in Vienna. Delpy is more reserved but also playful as Celine as a young woman pondering about life as well as the idea of romance. The two together have a tremendous sense of chemistry where they can be very funny but also dramatic as they make one of the great couple in film.

Before Sunrise is a phenomenal film from Richard Linklater that features amazing performances from Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. The film is definitely a film that really displays the true ideas of what it’s like to fall in love and the experiences that can happen in the span of a day. It’s also a film that is very accessible without delving into elements of pretentiousness while not falling prey to conventions. In the end, Before Sunrise is a glorious film from Richard Linklater.

Richard Linklater Films: It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books - Slacker - Dazed & Confused - subUrbia - The Newton Boys - Waking Life - Tape - School of Rock - Before Sunset - Bad News Bears (2005 film) - A Scanner Darkly - Fast Food Nation - Me and Orson Welles - Bernie (2011 film) - Before Midnight - Boyhood - Everybody Want Some!! - The Auteurs #57: Richard Linklater Pt. 1 - Pt. 2

© thevoid99 2013


Unknown said...

Incredible review. I like agree with your thoughts about the cinematography making the city of Vienna it's own character and the way he frames both Hawke and Delpy together. A huge fan of these movies. I just hope the thrid one is just as good as these other two.

Unknown said...

Wonderful review. Ethan and Julie make for an amazing pairing. The film is so simplistic and natural. Also, while it does feel real, it still contains a sense of romanticism. I love that you pointed out Vienna being an additional character and the amazing screenplay. Great job.