The get-rich-quick-scheme of a sexy widow and a con man needs a perfect pawn to set it in motion. Their choice has a few skeletons in his closet, however, and he gets involved only to be close to the seductress. If he find... more »s out she's manipulating him, the stakes could turn deadly. Jason Patric, Rachel Ward, Bruce Dern« less
"It was easy not to notice this in theaters a decade ago, but time has been exceedingly kind to AFTER DARK & likely will continue to be. Already it stands as one of the 90s best films.
Though its Southwestern locations (Indio, California was used) are both a bit too sparse and modern, in every other way this captures the ineffable aura of Jim Thompson's prose (and anyone who's actually READ "The Getaway" knows how utterly impossible a task translating his best effects to film really is). Director Foley has done a splendid job in setting a tone of dreamlike, sunburned melancholy and maintaining it throughout, aided immeasurably by fine performances by Rachel Ward & Bruce Dern and an absolutely riveting one by Jason Patric. I had faint hopes for this film before seeing it, due mostly to Patric in the lead; I was floored watching it, and all DUE to Patric's performance. Though a little young for the part, he captures perfectly the likable ambivalence and roiling inner pathology of the Jim Thompson Hero: you never stop feeling for the guy even as you know he will inevitably be compelled by his inner torments to do monstrous things before the story ends. Patric's complete immersion into "Kid Collins" steals a little thunder from one of Bruce Dern's most chillingly indelible portrayals of slime personified, "Uncle Bud". (Fans of Dennis Hopper's "Frank Booth" from BLUE VELVET would take to Uncle Bud immediately, I think.)
More than any other film adaptation of Thompson, AFTER DARK -even more than THE GRIFTERS - embodies that peculiar cowtown existentialism of his that tells us we're each of us alone in a world where things start bad and only get worse, pretending we're sane the way kids pretend there's a Santa Claus. A film without an audience in 1990, but little by little, year by year, a growing and appreciative audience is building. See this movie."
Jim Thompson on film--and punchy!
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 09/14/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Very nice piece of work with strong casting. How can you do better than have Bruce Dern play an ex-cop sleazeball? Or Rachel Ward as a dangerous femme fatale? Or Jason Patric as a semi-addled former boxer with smoldering sexuality?
Answer: you CAN'T. Yep, we're in Jim Thompson land--aka Desperation City, and each one of these three characters has some kind of desperation going on, as do just about all of Thompson's characters. This is neo-noir at its best; you reduce the story down to fundamental elements and have James Foley directing--a rock solid director--and you got yourself one humdinger of a flick.
So yeah, there's sex and violence and yeah, they both come out of Desperation. Oh yeah. The flashbacks of Patric (as Kevin Collins), a former boxer, when he was in the ring, add just the right element for cementing the story and its Thompsonesque flavor. So there's a planned heist and stuff, but the formula isn't important. What's important is the atmosphere, the acting, the emotional punch on display. And it's definitely here.
Great piece of work. Go for it."
A great little film noir
Kevin Stanton | Pittsburgh | 02/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Film noir focuses on desperate people doing desperate things. And that is exactly what this movie entails. Others have gone over the plot here so I will not do that. I will say that all actors did exceedingly well in what can be very difficult roles to play. They all acted off each other in a believable manner. Bruce Dern was never seedier than he is with this character. Jason Patric and Rachel Ward also excel at thier characters. What is decieving here is the setting....somewhere in the southwest, desert area. Film noir is typically dark and shadowy but here there is lots of sunlight. It takes the focus off the setting and puts it on the plot, which I found to be an interesting twist and quite effective. In the heat, the emotions bubble over. Lust, greed, deception, lies, mistrust and paranoia all play out in layer upon layer and is accented by Jason Patric's character very effectively. For those who like film noir with a twist you will certainly like this little known gem. It is immediately captivating and magnetic. I don't know how I missed it on it's original release but certainly glad I caught up to it. Take a chance folks... you won't be disappointed."
Trust 'ol uncle bud...and see what happens.
Raegan Butcher | Rain City, USA | 12/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great adaptation of my favorite Jim Thompson novel.
Jason Patric is excellent; he projects the raw physicality of a young Brando with just the right amount of modern psychotic edge. Rachel Ward is certainly beautiful enough to inspire many a man to do something dangerous and/or stupid( the sound of her husky voice alone would bring me to my knees!) Bruce Dern, after too many yrs in semi-retirement, acts with such sleazy charm that i almost wished it were the 1970's again and he were in his full-on psycho mode.
This has to be the brightest noir ever filmed and the washed out desert locations help tremendously when it comes to building an alternative atmosphere to the old school "city noirs".
Of all the adaptations of Jim Thompsons work so far, this one is my favorite."
An Underrated, Relatively-Unknown Noir
Craig Connell | Lockport, NY USA | 04/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Intense actors like Bruce Dern, Jason Patrick and Rachel Ward combine to make this modern-day film noir a winner. Of the three, I don't know who was most interesting as all offer good performances and intriguing characters.
Patric does the narration in this noir, playing an ex-boxer and mental patient. Wow, that alone makes for an interesting guy! He looks dumb, but he isn't. Ward is the slinky, attractive, cynical, intelligent and compassionate co- conspirator of a kidnapping plan that goes bad. Bruce Dern also is in the mix and Dern never fails to fascinate in about any film.
The movie could be considered kind of downer to the average viewer, but I found it fascinating....and I don't like depressing movies normally. What I found was a kind of quirky crime film. Take a look and see if you agree. This is pretty unknown film that shouldn't have that status because it's simply a good story and well-done. "