A high school filmmaker travels to Los Angeles to confront the man who murdered his girlfriend.
“Everlasting” successfully illustrates young love and the dreams and aspirations that derive from that emotional state. When two people bond and share a kinship together, the connection they experience can overcome any and all obstacles that stand in their way. But what if some of those stumbling blocks are placed there deliberately but unintentionally? That is the question “Everlasting” asks of its two young star-crossed lovers Matt (Adam David) and Jessie (Valentina de Angelis). Living in Colorado, it is coming near the end of the school year and Matt’s class is given an end-of-year project to complete: using a supplied video camera, they can talk about any subject matter they wish but they must be genuine and truthful.
Matt decides to make his video about Jessie, as she is preparing to move out to Los Angeles to become a model and he has insisted on driving her to her intended destination. As the two hit the road, they take turns with the camera, filming each other talking, arguing, making up and anything else that transpires along the way. Over time though, Matt notices a change in Jessie. When making love, she begins requesting that he strangle her and at times, slap her. He agrees to do it once, with some reluctance and afterwards, informs her that he will never do it again. Taking the scenic route, they stop off at various places en route to L.A., both aware that the closer they get to their final destination, the less time they will have to spend together once they arrive.
Eventually, they reach the City of Angels where they meet Jessie’s new agent and enjoy a pool party their first night there. Throughout the evening, both meet a diverse and assorted assemblage of characters but the next day, Matt and Jessie are melancholy as they both know it is time for Matt to leave and go back to Colorado. He doesn’t share her enthusiasm for the life in L.A. but she knows if she wants to succeed in her chosen profession, Los Angeles is the place to be. He leaves and both get on with their lives, staying in touch but within a few months, Jessie is dead. After having been found mutilated and sexually assaulted in a ditch, Matt receives a strange package in the mail which includes a video tape of her being tortured and killed.
The case goes cold after the police state they have nothing to go on and at this point, Matt decides to do some investigating of his own. He makes his way back out to L.A., interviewing people Jessie worked with but they too, regrettably, lead nowhere. When a stranger contacts him, informing him that he knows who killed Jessie, Matt agrees to meet him and they exchange information which leads Matt to a house in the hills, far away from civilization and a confrontation with a man who may very well have been the last person to see her alive, presumably, the one who also took her life. “Everlasting” prevails because of its charismatic two leads, Adam David and Valentina de Angelis. From the beginning, you solemnly believe the love they carry for each other and this element helps you overlook some minor criticisms.
The entire movie is spent building towards an emotional and powerful finale only to culminate in what could best be described as anti-climactic. This was the biggest grievance for me because throughout the entire movie, director Anthony Stabley effortlessly splices the two road trips together, the first with Matt and Jessie, both enjoying themselves and having fun and the second with Matt, retracing the first trip but alone, heartbroken and enraged and you can literally feel his anguish and the guilt he bears for the fact that he left her there by herself, even though it was her choice. The transition between joyous and then grief-stricken is akin to the feelings one experiences after a break-up but here, Matt is determined to bring about the necessary punishment deserving of the crime.
At one point in the movie when Matt and Jessie are talking online, she says there are so many freaks in the city that it’s hard to know who to trust and that everyone seems to have an angle but even with this insight, she is determined to make it big and stays put. Although it is never shown how she came to know her killer, given her earlier fascination with erotic asphyxiation, it’s safe to assume that she became embroiled in that lifestyle and tragically, it was her own curiosity that got her killed. “Everlasting” is a movie filled with authentic but flawed characters, people you can relate to on almost every level. Director Anthony Stabley has crafted a unique and poignant love story while simultaneously creating an impressive and suspenseful thriller. Highly Recommended.
For more information on the film and the filmmakers go to www.everlastingamovie.com