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Reckoning

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AFTER THE SUNSET

SYNOPSIS:
Max Burdett (Pierce Brosnan) and his beautiful accomplice, Lola (Salma Hayek), have pulled off yet another major heist, the second Napoleon diamond, from under the nose of FBI Agent Stan Lloyd (Woody Harrelson), and are retiring to Paradise Island in the Bahamas. However, Stan has spent seven years doggedly pursuing Max, only to be foiled time after time. He thinks the two are planning to lift the third and almost priceless Napoleon diamond, scheduled to arrive off Paradise Island via a highly secured cruise ship as part of a touring exhibition. Stan turns up on Paradise Island to catch Max, while Max swears he isnít interested, which is good news to Lola. But when the diamond does get stolen, Lola suspects Max, and so does Stan.

Review by Louise Keller:
There are two kinds of people in the world Ė some who are content to watch the sunset and some who are not. Pierce Brosnanís master jewel thief Max is apparently one of the latter, and even though he has officially retired and is now living the easy life in the Bahamas, life in Paradise doesnít seem to be all itís cracked up to be. Salma Hayek as Lola, his voluptuous partner in crime is finding it easier to adapt, and has even taken up carpentry, to put the finishing touches to the deck extension that lies between their spacious bungalow, the beach and the sparkling turquoise waters. Thatís not to say he hasnít tried. But exchanging pleasantries with wealthy, overweight tourists over lobster each night has lost its appeal and itís the thrill of the chase that he longs for.

Thereís so much eye candy in After The Sunset, that itís easy to forgive its silly plot. Set in the idyllic surrounds of the tropical Bahamas, thereís Pierce Brosnan in rugged, unshaven mode and Salma Hayek looking fetching in a skimpy bikini. Plus thereís Woody Harrelson as Stan, the persistent and obsessed FBI agent who is hot on Maxís trail, and itís clear from the beginning that Stan actually wishes he were more like Max. Thereís a lot of smooching, a daring diamond heist and the expected twists and turns that keep us entertained. Like a holiday page-turner, thereís nothing terribly profound in this heist movie cum-comedy, but the characters are likeable and itís easy on the eye.

After The Sunset sets itself up to be a heist movie, a romance and a buddy movie. But the buddy theme between Max and Stan is the filmís least successful part and many of the scenes between the two men are contrived and overworked. Why would Max pay for Stanís extravagant hotel suite with all the trimmings, or go fishing with him? And can we really believe Max would resort to sharing a double bed with Stan after Lola kicks him out? The situations are played for laughs and destroy some of the great authenticity that Hayek achieves with her luscious Lola. Don Cheadle is good value as the local crim wanting diamond-stealing advice and Naomie Harris as the local cop has as much attitude as one of those exotic Caribbean cocktails decked with a frilly umbrella.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A comedic heist movie with an oddball buddy movie appendage, After the Sunset tries on several fittings of a suitable tone to give us thrills, spills, exotic Caribbean sights and two handsome stars locked in love. The result is what the English have perfected as trifle, and a trifle is what this is, although a really good trifle would have a bit of an alcoholic punch to it. After The Sunset boasts some great colour (from the lagoons to the leggy babes) but itís a trifle without punch. Like the drink the beach bar serves on which hangs a major plot point...

The screenplay wants to be playful and thrilling in the now expected James Bond vein, but like that franchise, it never has the grounding to make any of the thrills thrilling. Salma Hayek is the filmís biggest asset, playing her character for real, but Pierce Brosnan, going for the unshaven rogue look, canít find his characterís inner dimensions. When we are asked to buy his long awaited love confession to Lola, it seems more laughable than loveable.

Woody Harrelson is a fine actor, and he does his best to work with the silly material, with no help from director Brett Ratner.

Attempts at dramatic inserts are a little feeble and too many scenes are perfunctorily staged Ė like the one where Lola is about to suddenly walk out on Max (having learnt some information), and her luggage is already neatly packed on the bed.

Having misjudged the filmís tone Ratner also misjudges the style, which sits somewhere between a Coke commercial and a TV soap set in the islands.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

AFTER THE SUNSET (M)
(US)

CAST: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle, Naomie Harris, Chris Penn

PRODUCER: Beau Flynn, Jay Stern

DIRECTOR: Brett Ratner

SCRIPT: Paul Zbyszewski, Craig Rosenberg

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dante Spinotti (underwater by Peter Zuccarini)

EDITOR: Mark Helfrich

MUSIC: Lalo Schifrin

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Geoffrey Kirkland

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 13, 2005

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: April 21, 2005







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