After the Sunset (2004)
“Who will walk away?”
After the Sunset (2004)
Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson
Synopsis: An FBI agent pursues a retire jewel thief, convinced he’s about to pull one last job.
Like Salma Hayek’s numerous disrobing scenes, After the Sunset promises much but delivers very little. Aspiring to the lightweight sophistication and humour of To Catch a Thief, which this film references on a couple of occasions, it runs on the thinnest – and most familiar – of premises. Any hint of seriousness is strictly forbidden, which means that the persistently light-hearted tone turns its characters into nothing more than good-looking cardboard cut-outs.
Pierce Brosnan (Seraphim Falls, The World’s End) and Salma Hayek (The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!) are Max Burdette and Lola Cirillo, a glamorous pair of audacious high-level jewel thieves who think nothing of kidnapping FBI agent Stan Lloyd (Woody Harrelson – Zombieland, Now You See Me) from under the noses of his colleagues so that they can relieve him of the priceless jewel he’s guarding (Max achieves this through the use of high-tech gadgetry that has aged far less well than Brosnan). Having done so, they retire to Paradise Island which, appropriately enough, is an island paradise basking in the perpetual Bahaman sunshine, where they plan to spend the rest of their days in sun-kissed luxury. But Lloyd takes it upon himself to travel out to Paradise Island when a cruise ship exhibiting the last remaining Napoleon diamond not to have been stolen by Max docks there, confident that Max won’t be able to resist coming out of retirement in order to add the jewel to his collection.
The adversarial relationship between Max and Lloyd forms the core of the story, with Hayek railroaded to the sidelines from where she offers tantalising glimpses of her body every now and then. It’s one of those jokey rivalries which makes it clear that Lloyd has a sneaking admiration for his quarry, who is his superior in every way. Max outthinks Lloyd at every turn of the plot and then looks upon the hapless agent’s subsequent frustration with smug amusement, which makes him a little unlikeable and drains any suspense the plot might be trying to establish.
After the Sunset is a movie that invites it’s audience to envy the freewheeling lifestyle enjoyed by its maverick protagonists. Max has the rugged, perpetually-stubbled good looks that every pot-bellied middle-aged man would like to possess, and Lola has the flawless beauty of which every woman dreams. When the sun isn’t shining down from a flawless blue sky everything is bathed in a lush golden light, as if even the Gods are smiling down on them. It’s not as clever or funny as it would like to think it is, but After the Sunset is entertaining enough for those who don’t want to have to think too hard about what they’re watching.
(Reviewed 14th May 2015)