An ex-boxer is drifting around after escaping from the mental hospital. He meets a widow who convinces him to help fix up the neglected estate her ex-husband left. Her Uncle talks them both...
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An ex-boxer is drifting around after escaping from the mental hospital. He meets a widow who convinces him to help fix up the neglected estate her ex-husband left. Her Uncle talks them both into helping kidnap a rich boy for ransom money, and the ex-fighter must make decisions about his loyalties and what is right. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
When Bruce Dern and Jason Patric are sitting in the car looking at the mansion, about 30 minutes into the movie, the reflection of a crew member is visible in the chrome of the driver side rear view mirror. See more »
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 to suit the source material, 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.
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