Nice movie, but lacking the emotional intensity of its sequel. Perhaps its just me, but Before Sunrise, thanks to the plot perhaps, does not rise above the level of a well-directed (almost) real-time drama. Julie Delpy is surreal, no thanks to her ethereal screen visage (seriously looking forward to Broken Flowers after today). Ethan Hawke is good as the quintessential “dumb” American (in one scene, he is nearly reprimanded for being another of the tribe who can’t speak German).
But the real surprise of the movie is Vienna. Long shots of the lead actors walking the city capture the beauty of this historical place in terms few films have managed to. From streetside piazzas to a cemetery of the unnamed; the lackadaisical Danube to seating areas in secret grottos- Linklater’s screenplay is a definitive ode to the Austrian capital.
I prefer Before Sunset because it brought with it the past that is showcased in the prequel, and the resultant pain and anguish (the scene in the cab, for instance) took the movie to a different sphere of cinematic experience. I also think its treatment more believable, but that admittedly is another of filmmaking’s ironies. The story evolves and so do the characters, but you wish it started from there, like in a void. The chicken-and-egg riddle.