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AFTER GLOW

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Nick Nolte, Julie Christie, Lara Flynn Boyle, Jonny Lee Miller
Director: Alan Rudolph
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Surround
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen Format
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Features: See Review
Length: 119 Minutes
Release Date: October 14, 2003

“Hi, I’m lucky.”

“Why’s that?”

“No, I’m Lucky the fix it man!”

“Oh, well…come in then!”

Film **

After Glow, starring Nick Nolte, takes a walk on the weird side of infidelity and shows that when the adulterers get duped by their significant other…the game isn’t so much fun anymore!

Lucky the fix it man can repair or build just about anything he sets his mind too.  Day after day he rises, kisses his wife goodbye and heads off into the unknown.  Whether he’s giving an elderly ladies plumbing a good cleaning, or building a room for a baby that with any luck will be on the way before he leaves today, you know you’ll get a job done right as long you get Lucky!

For me the filming style used in this movie was old school indie style.  The colors you could see were muted or shaded to the point that at times I felt like I was watching a black and white film.  Instead of the typical medium range shooting on the actors, director Alan Rudolph chose to shoot some scenes through mirrors and reflections. 

At times this style was disconcerting because, as a whole, the scripting wasn’t the best, and good visualization can always help a script excel more. 

The acting itself was very interesting.  Nolte played himself perfectly as he always does.  With a little bit of that rough around the edges appeal, he makes a decent leading man.  Lara Flynn Boyle did an excellent job with her portrayal as the frustrated undersexed wife of Jonny Lee Miller’s character.  She definitely does desperate and lonely in a way that you connect with instead of feeling sorry for. 

Julie Christie is a gift that Hollywood has been blessed with going all the way back to the early 60’s.   If you don’t know who Julie Christie is, then you definitely need a quick lesson.  Pencils down, eyes and ears forward.  I know her best as Lara from, Doctor Zhivago (one of THE greatest movies of all time in my personal opinion!),  but with 43 movie titles under her belt, she is best known in Hollywood by the roles that garnered her two Best Actress Oscar nominations. She was radiant in 1971’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and sensually delightful to watch as Phyllis in After Glow.   If you are unfamiliar with any of these titles, how about her work opposite Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait?  This lady is what the junior novice Hollywood brats wish they were, and will probably never be!

Jonny Lee Miller really caught my attention in the movie Hackers, and I guess I expected more from him here.  I haven’t had a lot of exposure to him, mostly tabloid news to be honest, but I thought at least we would see some of the grit he has show in other roles.

The only real problem I had with this film was the scripting.  It really felt chopped up and thrown together.   With the cast assembled for this film I’m very surprised they couldn’t do more with the script so it would make the movie easier to watch.  The direction was okay, with moments that really did shine (especially where Julie was involved), but over all, I wasn’t impressed that much.

I think the dark side of love is what the crew was shooting for, with the muted colors and varying shades of gray in even the most intimate scenes.  What they got was a movie with too many shadows and not enough chutzpah to carry it into a place where this style works. 

This movie isn’t the best I’ve seen out there, but it will fill up the time nicely on a day when your chores and errands are done and your looking to step outside the movie norm.

Video **

The video quality was a bit dark and dirty.  The dirt and graininess visible through out a print this young was surprising.   The lighting wasn’t very good but considering this movie is supposed to represent the very dark and forbidden aspects of extramarital sex, then maybe you can over look the dull colors, and low lighting. 

The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer had no visible hazing around the edges or problems with compression as this disc had very few features to compromise storage space.

Audio ***

I was more than pleased with the audio quality on this DVD.  The balance achieved by the 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround mix was nearly flawless.   The cascade of sounds from each speaker was balanced very well overall.  

There were a few places where the audio did drop significantly enough to catch my immediate attention but over all not enough to consider it a major flaw.   The dialogue was mixed very well against the background music beds as well.

Features *

As extra features go, After Glow’s were nothing more than a dim flicker!

Movie trailers for Mute Witness, The Spanish Prisoner and Living In Oblivion are included, along with interactive menus and scene selection.

Summary:

After Glow didn’t spark anything exciting within me.  This virtually featureless DVD could have benefited from some special packaging and extras.  The acting was good, but even acting can’t make up for weird stories and odd camera work.