She Dies Tomorrow ★★★

For better or for worse, one of my biggest takeaways of She Dies Tomorrow is the most dialogue-free opening 15 minutes or so, where the increasingly depressed protagonist Amy plays the “Lacrimosa” segment from Mozart’s “Requiem” on a loop. Amy Seimetz’s script plays fast and loose with a mostly non-cohesive narrative, which includes some flashbacks to Amy and her boyfriend Craig (Kentucker Audley), which offers a vague explanation of how these thoughts of death got started. In fact, Amy all but disappears after the first act of the film, with Jane Adams’ character of Jane taking over as the primary protagonist, though we do return to Amy at various points throughout the story.

I would argue that Amy Seimetz was influenced by her work nearly a decade ago with Shane Carruth on Upstream Color, particularly in how She Dies Tomorrow is structured as a drama with some genre elements. However, She Dies Tomorrow was never able to fully hold my attention and the film leaves too many plot threads open, including an inexplicable late-film cameo by Michelle Rodriguez. That’s not saying that Seimetz isn’t capable as a filmmaker, I just would have preferred it if her script was a little more on the cohesive side.

Altogether, She Dies Tomorrow is a somewhat experimental exploration of pessimism that ultimately does not escape from the “art-house genre” niche. Though, if you’re a Mozart fan, you will probably dig the looping Lacrimosa in the opening 15 minutes.

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