Friday, October 22, 2010

'After the Sunset' is too full of plot holes

After the Sunset (2004)
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Woody Harrelson, and Salma Hayek
Director: Brett Ratner
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Jewel thief Max Burdett (Brosnan) retires to the Bahamas with long-time partner Lola (Hayek) after one last big heist. When Stan (Harrelson), an FBI agent they repeatedly humiliated during their respective careers shows up on the island supposedly to stop Max from stealing a valuable gem temporarily on display there, Max's compulsive obsession with thievery boils to the surface and he soon comes out of retirement for one more "one last heist."

After the Sunset could be better than it is. It's got a good cast, it's got a good location, and caper films are always fun. Sadly, the script is one that is so full of holes and inherently contradictory complications that the attentive viewer is left wondering "why did they have to do that when they already had achieved the objective?" and the actors mostly seem to be going through the motion of their parts. Worse, the storyline is pretty much a paint-by-number caper story, with the twists being so commonplace that I almost wish they hadn't done them. (In other words, it might have been a more satisfying film without the genre-dictated twists and double-crosses.)

I did enjoy the interplay between the Brosnan and Harrelson characters (even if I had to suspend my disbelief to a tremendous amount to buy into the way both seemed to accept each other's frendship, or assume that the other had bought into it, so quickly.

I also liked the subplot of the way Lola was revealed as the true professional while Max was a thief due to obsessive-compulsive behavior and supreme narcissism and arrogance; Lola was content to retire with her spoils and work on building the deck for their new house and take tennis lessons, while Max had to keep stealing. It was one part of the film that evoked an emotional response from me (aside from smiling at the funny parts), despite the fact that it was another of the films well-trod cliche elements.

"After the Sunset" could have been a Five or even Six Star movie if just a little more brainpower had been spent working out the problems in the script (and even the many shots of Hayek's ample assets barely contained in skimpy outfits can't make up for those).

Speaking of Salma Hayek, she was one of the "immodest women" featured in the very important, mind-opening "Tectonic Tuesdays" series at Cinema Steve.

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