Everlasting (2016)

If there’s any independent film that deserves to take off and be celebrated by movie lovers far and wide, it’s Anthony Stabley’s “Everlasting.” It’s a gripping, emotional, and gut wrenching tale of love, death, and the loss of innocence. Writer, Director and producer Stabley creates a compelling drama with a dash of the supernatural that feels very sincere and genuinely heartfelt right until the final tear jerking scene. Watching like a take on Paul Schrader’s “Hardcore,” director Stabley invokes a unique cautionary tale while successfully building two very flawed but absolutely brilliant protagonists. I cared about everyone involved in “Everlasting” and director Stabley implements every cast member well from his stars to notable supporting players like Pat Healey and Elizabeth Rohm.

“Everlasting” works on so many levels as a dark drama, a tragic romance, a tale of unconditional love, revenge, and as yet another look at how Los Angeles can swallow up unsuspecting individuals seeking escape from their former lives. Focused on Matt, as played beautifully by Adam David, we visit him at the end of the high school year where he’s tasked with creating a video project. He has the idea to create his video project about his former girlfriend and lover Jessie, a very beautiful and tortured young girl with big dreams of becoming a successful model. Deciding to spend the remaining time with her, Matt drives Jessie to Los Angeles, and he finds that her opportunities and seductive lifestyle are not all appealing to him and leaves back to Colorado.

It’s not long before Matt learns that Jessie was murdered. Torn up and tormented by the memories they shared, he goes to Los Angeles to look for the person who murdered her or at least approach some kind of closure. Even in their best moments the relationship between Matt and Jessie is one working on borrowed time. With their love and passion for one another, their minds are set on different goals and there simply never seems to be any hope for a happy ending. “Everlasting” switches from pseudo-documentary to narrative and occasional found footage, chronicling Matt’s efforts to find Jessie’s murderer. The more he digs in to her life in Los Angeles, the more he uncovers the seedy underbelly of the city and how she was eventually caught in a horrendous downward slope.

Director Stabley knows how to balance his film between gritty mystery and dream like romance, as he shifts back and forth between Jessie and Matt’s turbulent romance and her descent in to darkness in the city. The film is very dependent on the performances of both leads, and Valentina De Angelis and Adam David are more than up for the task. De Angelis is especially great as the broken doll whose own desire for a new life leaves her open to predators and perverts alike. “Everlasting” is clearly a work of love, and Anthony Stabley’s film kept me wrapped up in its narrative until the final moment. I can’t wait to see more of what Stabley and his cast is capable of with future films.