I was chatting with a colleague recently, and Stephen Dorff came up. With his recent electronic-cigarette ads, his steady stream of light-lift, scruffy-faced straight-to-video roles and reputation for an offscreen life of, ahem, considerable enjoyment, Dorff is like the actor equivalent of a 1980s-era hair metal band that never packed it in, I opined. He’s an unapologetically dick-swinging actor — just livin’ the ring-a-ding Hollywood dream, baby.
Despite cheap shots many might take, it’s not that Dorff doesn’t have talent, and isn’t capable of restrained work (see Somewhere) or even some interesting excess (um, see Shadowboxer). In the new Tomorrow You’re Gone, however, Dorff assumes a series of increasingly empty noir postures and grimaces, expediting the plunge into frustrating pointlessness of this curious psychological drama.
Not that he’s the only one to blame — adapted by Matthew F. Jones from his own novel Boot Tracks, Tomorrow You’re Gone arrives the subject of considerable offscreen drama. A lawsuit by the author seeking, among other things, an injunction against its release accuses director David Jacobson (Down in the Valley) of sullying his work beyond redemption. So… who’s the chief culprit? It’s hard to say, and even harder to really care about, given the level of overwhelming indifference the movie engenders.
Out of jail after a four-year stint, Charlie (Dorff) gets set up in a dungy apartment courtesy of a shadowy contact/ex-colleague known as the Buddha (Willem Dafoe), who also tasks him with killing someone. Charlie promptly meets a woman with gold shoes on a city bus, Florence (Michelle Monaghan, cycling through a set of fairly beguiling if always symbolic emotional markers), and tells her his name is Samson. She’s an ex-adult film actress, and wouldn’t mind helping Charlie relieve some stress, but he’s all for car shopping and chaste dinner dates, which “keeps his head clear” and leaves him with more free time to mosey off to another neighborhood and do this killing. The additional rub? It’s clear Charlie is not of completely sound mind, and that his interactions with others may represent some sort of fractured reality.
Jacobson delivers a nice technical package, aided by some moody music from Peter Sallet. His composition and framing sometimes suggests Charlie stepping out of body and almost watching himself, which is interesting. But there’s simply no hook or appealing tension to this movie as it unfolds, only counterbalanced scenes of Dorff’s gruffness and Monaghan’s pinprick flirtations. Tomorrow You’re Gone is a muddled game of hardboiled pattycake that I’m certain even all the participants themselves would admit doesn’t convincingly or satisfyingly sell an absorbing story or point-of-view.
Tomorrow You’re Gone comes to Blu-ray in a regular case with a nice, high-quality embossed complementary slipcover. Its 1080p 2.35:1 widescreen transfer is a good one, free of any edge enhancement or problems with grain. Similarly, the DTS-HD 5.1 master audio track more than adequately handles the movie’s rather straightforward sound design, while opening up its channels a bit during some key bursts of action. Unfortunately, there are no supplemental features to further prop up and bolster the value of this wobbly tale, making it worthy of a spin only for diehard Dorff fans… which still exist, right? To purchase the Blu-ray via Half, click here. D (Movie) D+ (Disc)