AFTER THE SUNSET
Review by Gordon Justesen
Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle, Naomie Harris
Director: Brett Ratner
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: New Line Cinema
Features: See Review
Length: 98 Minutes
Release Date: March 29, 2005
gonna forward your calls, don't
tail me so close!"
Certain movies have
the ability to succeed in terms of style over substance. Such is the case with
the romantic heist comedy After the Sunset,
which is something of a mess in its story, but it's such a fantastic looking
production, and the cast is having such a blast that one can't help but enjoy
it. In other words, this is the kind of movie you see to be entertained, if not
have your brain challenged.
This is the latest
movie from Brett Ratner, the ultra-stylish director of Red Dragon, the Rush Hour
movies, and the much underrated The Family
Man. Ratner knows how to make use of a production, and After
the Sunset may just be his most extravagant looking piece yet, though we'll
have to wait until Rush Hour 3 hits
theaters. There's no question that the production value, in particular the lush
cinematography of Dante Spinotti (Heat,
L.A. Confidential) is the main attraction here.
The movie also
opens with quite a bang. As a heavily secured FBI caravan is making its way to
house a priceless diamond in a museum in downtown L.A., paranoid-fueled Fed Stan
Lloyd (Woody Harrelson) is having his men tail alleged thief Max Burdett (Pierce
Brosnan) at a nearby Lakers game. As a rowdy fan ignites a fight with the refs,
the men tailing Max have lost sight of him. Before long, Max makes it up to a
rooftop and is given control of Agent Lloyd's caravan by way of a PDA.
Along with the help
of his girlfriend, Lola (Salma Hayek), who's disguised as a homeless man, they
successfully heist the diamond in a most convoluted fashion. With the fed's
caravan being moved to a darkened area, the two snatch the diamond right from
the agent's clutches. Having been gassed in the process, Lloyd is unable to make
the id of the thief, obviously infuriating his fellow agents.
Then the two plot
their island getaway, as the central story kicks off right when most of them
end. Max and Lola plan to remain in paradise for the rest of their lives,
drinking many martinis and watching endless sunsets. But their plans at early
retirement are thwarted once Max discovers that Agent Lloyd has arrived on the
island, obviously to trace his nemesis' every move.
Max insists that he's
here to enjoy paradise with his one true love, but Lloyd has his suspicions. The
fact that a nearby cruise ship is housing yet another priceless diamond has him
believing Max is on the island to plot one more "last job".
Since it happens to be the third rock in a series of diamonds Max "allegedly"
stole, Lloyd is dead certain of Max intentions.
Is Max actually
planning on stealing it? Lola demands that he forget about it and concentrate on
their future together in paradise, and that he write down his wedding vows. What
follows is an extensive exercise in "who's playing who".
Added to the mix is
Sophie (Naomie Harris), an island cop who crosses paths with Lloyd, who tells
her that he's conducting a covert FBI op. Before long, the two have become
partners, in more than one sense. She is trying to nail resident kingpin Henry
Moore (Don Cheadle), who appears as an charitable businessman. As it turns out,
he is the very person who wants Max to steal the diamond from the cruise ship.
Even though the
movie goes in so many directions, and executes about one twist too many, there
is still much to enjoy. The lead actors play very well off one another,
especially Brosnan and Harrelson as in a scene where they are fishing together
on a boat. Plus, what guy wouldn't resist countless shots of Ms. Hayek in
scantily clad attire?
So in short, After
the Sunset is to be enjoyed just as long as you don't try to think about it
too much. I'm giving a marginal recommendation on basis of the splendid
production and the effortless charm of the cast. I, for one, have missed Woody
Harrelson and am glad to see him back on the screen, especially in a comedic
role. This is a movie that you may not think much about when it's over, but you'll
have a lot of fun while you watch it.
BONUS: Look closely
for Edward Norton as a spectator at the Lakers game in the opening of the movie.
Without a doubt one
of the most outstanding looking discs of the year so far. New Line's anamorphic
handling (Full Screen available separately) does a most magnificent job of
enhancing the already splendid look of the production even further. The island
setting is nothing short of breathtaking, and Dante's Spinotti's cinematography
fills the screen with immense beauty. Colors are tremendously strong and
natural. A remarkable piece of DVD video.
The 5.1 mix
delivers a lot of bite and then some. Every aspect of the movie, from that of
music playback to that of set pieces, including a fantastic scene involving a
street parade, and ultra clear dialogue delivery add up to making this a truly
fantastic audio job, courtesy of New Line.
New Line delivers
the superb goods once again with this Platinum Series release. Lots of grand
extras here, starting with a commentary track with Brett Ratner,
deleted/alternate scenes with optional commentary, a blooper reel, an hour-plus
documentary titled "Before, During and After the Sunset", which traces the
making of the movie right from pre-production. Also featured is the documentary "Interview
with a Jewel Thief", which reveals the doings of a real life heistman, A Charlie
Rose Show interview segment with Brett Ratner, Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek and
Woody Harrelson, trailer and TV spots, and bonus trailers from New Line.