After The Sunset (USA 2004)

Max (Pierce Brosnan) and Lola (Salma Hayek) are eating at a restaurant with an American couple and are discussing their business activities. Wendell: “My family’s been in manure for three generations.” Max: “No shit.” Having pulled off yet another amazing and cunning diamond robbery and left FBI Agent Lloyd with yet more egg on his face, Max and Lola retire to the Caribbean and get on easy street. After a while though the lobsters start to lose their luxury, the sun seems normal and the days are boring more than they are relaxing.

At this time Agent Lloyd reappears, directly confronting Max in the belief that he plans to rob a precious diamond that is on board a liner due to make a stop on the island. Not even aware of the liner, Max denies he plans to do the job, but the more he thinks about it the more old habit dies hard. Add to this an offer from businessman Henri Moore and soon Max is back on the job despite Lola’s protests. Meanwhile Lloyd teams up with local office Sophie to try and stop him. With the appearance of a standard action movie I just decided to skip this one at the cinema but this made for a very enjoyable rental choice and I’m glad I gave it a try.

In essence the film is a standard caper which Hollywood will kick out every now and again and, for parts that is exactly what it appears to be but in fact it is not totally what it would be in that case. Sure, it does the usual unlikely relationship stuff, cat and mouse games and obligatory twists but the film is much more enjoyable because of the approach it takes; it never takes itself seriously, is consistently jokey and gave me a real relaxed mood from watching it. Of course you do need to be in the mood for it and be willing to suspend your niggles and just go with the film – it doesn’t take itself too seriously so why should you?

The one area that is interesting and engaging is the character side – slick and unrealistic they may be but the dynamics are fun and interesting. The fact that the actors bring conviction to it so splendidly helps. Brosnan and Hayek play their roles well; his is the standard one but he adds enough to make it interesting and engaging. Meanwhile, she is sexy and light but also capable for more in the final parts of the film. Woody Harrelson is enjoyable for the majority but appears to struggle at the times where the film slows down a little bit; he is having fun and it helped sustain interest. Don Cheadle is really funny in a silly way. His character, Henri Mooré, is the biggest gangster on the island. His scenes are very good even if his place within the plot is less convincing. He suggests to Max a partnership – he will give him what he doesn’t have: access to the marina, the crews, rotation schedules, whatever he needs.

As for Sophie (Naomie Harris) she is a an attractive local cop who teams up with Lloyd. She requires a big arrest…None of them will get awards or even have this listed among their famous films but they all have fu, match the tone of the film and make it enjoyable to watch. Overall this is not a fantastic movie; the plot lacks logic and will annoy those who expect more of a standard genre flick but it is an enjoyable piece of fluff that will please those who can get into it on its own level. The cast “get it” and they are all good on this basis, really helping the audience to go with them, not take it too seriously and just enjoy it for what it is. An obvious strength of After The Sunset is Salma Hayek’s body. She knows it’s good, she isn’t shy about showing it off abundantly for us all to marvel and leer at… Nassau has never looked better!

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