Or is Laura making connections that aren’t there as a way to ease the impossibility of her burden? "Don’t Look Now," Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 classic of fractured anxiety, may or may not be a ghost story, but it’s most assuredly haunted. It’s easy — and understandable — for a movie about parents coping with the death of a child to slide into a glum depressive haze. Yet one granddaddy of the genre is neither glum nor depressing; it turns parental despair into something spine-tingling. Has Josie, who was killed in a car accident several years before (her father was at the wheel), reappeared as the new girl next door? And you could say the same thing about "Here Before," in which Andrea Riseborough plays Laura, a distraught mother in a small town in Northern Ireland who begins to suspect that her dead daughter has been reincarnated.
And then she starts to see clues. The new family has a daughter, Megan (Niamh Dornan), freckled and eager, who’s about the same age as Josie was when she died. Or the girl’s diary, which contains her stick-figure drawing of two parents with a boy and a girl. So she gives her a ride home. And feels an eerie connection to her. Or the way that her name is crossed out above her school coat hook, replaced by the name of… Like when they go to an empty playground, and Megan says that they’ve been there before. Picking up Tadhg after school, Laura spies Megan waiting for her mom, who is nowhere in sight.
I had a paradoxical feeling watching "Here Before." Like the early films of Lynne Ramsay ("Ratcatcher"), the movie, by design, is a tad too oblique to make a commercial splash on the indie circuit. Yet Stacey Gregg, whose feature filmmaking debut this is, has what I would characterize as a hugely accessible and transportable technique. I could see her continuing down the pinpoint road of minor-key dread, or making an unabashed genre film that blows a lot of people away.” />
The writer-director, Stacey Gregg, orchestrates the minimalist version of a Roegian atmosphere. She uses strikingly framed long and medium shots to establish the hint of an invisible design lurking just beyond the surface of things. In a way we want it to be, because that would make it scary fun; in another way we don’t want it to be, because that would make it corny scary fun. Gregg poises nearly every scene on the knife edge of is-it-real-or-is-it-all-in-Laura’s-head?
The most artful and fascinating thing about "Here Before," and it takes a confident filmmaker to pull this off, is that it sets up scenes that totally hook us, like one in which Laura and her husband, Brendan (Jonjo O’Neill), are seated in their car and he suggests that it may be time for her to talk to "someone" (i.e., a therapist) again, and she tells him to "Save it for your mum," and just as it’s building to a dramatic thrust the scene cuts off. It’s clear that Gregg could have supplied the thrust — but instead, intentionally, she leaves us hanging, kind of like life. Laura and Brendan have a teenage son, the unruly, self-centered Tadhg (Lewis McAskie), who likes to stir the pot. Her Laura is more like a character out of Antonioni, an everyday train wreck with a dread that just about seeps through her pale skin. The tensions among the three of them have begun to simmer and boil over, and that’s before another family moves into the apartment that occupies the other half of their house. It’s Laura who convinces us that she may be seeing the spirit of her late daughter, yet Andrea Riseborough is the furthest thing from a gothic nightmare actor.
Yet it’s a drama of delicate glints and feints; you might wish there were more scenes like the one with that diary. "Here Before" keeps us off guard, and all the more awake because of it. We have to imagine what she looks like — she’s there in our mind’s eye, and also not — and that’s a way of putting the audience in the shoes of parents who feel their child’s memory frozen in time yet slipping away. And those conflicts come to a head over the question of who’s in true possession of Megan. The escalating conflicts between the two families have a class-based undercurrent — Megan’s father, Chris (Martin McCann), with his tattoos and outwardly gruff demeanor (he’s actually quite sweet), is viewed suspiciously by the other clan. The only glimpse we get in flashback of the late Josie is a recurring shot of Laura pulling off the girl’s green headband from behind.

"Orange is the New Black" star Natasha Lyonne wrote, "Discovering his films was a shot to the heart that woke my teenage mind to the scope of limitless possibility in storytelling."

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Director Bernard Rose called "Don't Look Now," "Walkabout" and "The Man Who Fell to Earth" "the greatest unbroken run in film history.
British director Nicolas Roeg, who's 1970s-era films such as "Don't Look Now," "The Man Who Fell to Earth" and "Performance" became touchstones for numerous budding filmmakers and cinephiles, died Friday.

Documentary filmmaker Mark Cousins wrote "Thank you for expanding the movies."
Director Brad Bird said Roeg saw cinema through a "very unique set of eyes."

"The Incredibles" helmer Brad Bird paid tribute on Twitter. And the man…Rest in Peace." "Nicolas Roeg, first as a Cinematographer, then as a Director, saw cinema through a very unique pair of eyes…May the work live on.

"Thank you for making so many brave choices and giving this little lad in pajamas an ongoing love of filmmaking," Jones wrote. Directors including Edgar Wright and Duncan Jones, whose father David Bowie starred in "The Man Who Fell to Earth," were quick to remember Roeg's visual mastery and complex storytelling.

"Amy" director Asif Kapadia worked Roeg's filmmaking style into his tweet, saying "rest in a complex structural time travelling visually stunning cinematic peace."
Amazon Studios' Ted Hope wrote, "You blew my mind, taught me to see and dream in a different way."

Edgar Wright said "I could watch Don't Look Now on a loop and never tire of its intricacies." In a follow-up tweet, Wright said his filmography was "dazzling and fascinating."
Screenwriter-producer Larry Karaszewski called him "One of the greatest directors that ever lived."