Cinerama: After the Sunset

Posted: September 12, 2009 in Cinerama

After the Sunset

By Mike Derderian

How many people do you think wake up early in the morning to watch sunrise? Not many. Some would say it is too early and they cannot force themselves out of a warm bed. Others would lazily declare that eight hours of continuous sleep is better than watching a miracle in the happening.

I was one of those people, until I found a failsafe plan that gave me the chance to watch the sun rising from its earthly tomb. How? Well, all you have to do is stay up all night instead of going to sleep like a drowsy fowl. After the first signs of daybreak a cold and sudden gust of wind caresses your chuffed cheeks as the silence is broken by the gentle murmur of life that reminds us all we are still breathing.

I cannot remember exactly how many times I did this in the past years but the whole experience is like committing murder on the dance floor with Lola Cirillo (Salma Hayek); the same way she did with Max Burdett (Pierce Brosnan) in Brett Ratner 2004 black comedy After the Sunset.

This hour and a half sparkler-heist-movie is simply hilarious from beginning to end, especially when the smug face of Federal Bureau Intelligence (FBI) agent Stan Lloyd (Woody Harrelson) hits the glass partition of a limousine and in the end credits roll down.

After the Sunset might be sluggish in action but it is high on attraction. The skeptical reader suddenly inquires “but does it have a plot?” It does but it is quite simple. In fact it is very simple and similar to a math equation, let me explain: If A is Max Burdett and B is the last remaining Napoleon diamond then what is C?

C is the result of Burdett’s plan to steal the diamond… oh, I almost forgot the X factor that stands for Salma Hayek, who herself was a case study. Somehow Ratner’s directorial lens managed to stay in focus on Hayek’s best parts—and I am not talking about her lines.

In an attempt to avoid being typecast and hard on taking off the suave suit of 007 and replacing the one liner quips of James Bond, Brosnan appeared in the 2004 romance comedy Laws of Attraction with Julianne Moore.

Watching the trailer for his 2005 crime-comedy The Matador aka The Butcher also gave us an idea of what acting is according to Brosnan, who no longer wants the smart boy look. I mean one good look at the mustached Julian Noble (Brosnan), the assassin who is struck with manic depression and suffers loneliness in The Matador, is more than enough to prove that Brosnan is back and running on the right track after being derailed off the 007 railroad.

But no matter how hard an actor or a director tries one-liners or punch-lines will always be the hip trend hard to lose—remember making a person laugh is much easier then making him cry, unless, of course you get Leonardo DeCaprio and drown him in bucket full of ice cold ocean water.

“My family has been in manure for three generations,” a man dining with Lola and Max tells the bored jewelry thief, who answers in utter apathy, “no s**t.”

The personality of Burdett, who is a top-notch burglar trying to retire in order to please his bossy but affectionate girlfriend Lola, is a fusion of the ice-cold mannerism of Bond, the Thomas Crown charm and Brosnan’s own sense of humor and affinity for comedy that he so brilliantly displayed during his television detective series Remington Steele that ran between the years 1982-1987.

After his last diamond heist during which he humiliated FBI agent Stan Lloyd (Harrelson) Max and Lola head out to Jamaica to retire, relax under the sun and eat lobster. Lola hopes that they will grow old together and watch the sunset on the porch of their beach house.

Their plans are disrupted when Lloyd arrives to the island and dares Burdett into stealing a rare Napoleon diamond on display abroad an ocean linear. Things get more complicated when local crime boss Henri Mooré (Don Cheadle) asks or orders Burdett to steal the diamond for the “Island’s interest.”

Cheadle’s brief appearance was simply a reprisal of Maurice Miller’s persona from Steven Soderbergh’s 1998 film Out of Sight. Naomie Harris, who portrayed Sophie, a local policewoman aspiring to achieve a big arrest, was a good character addition and gave an impressive performance as the tough cop.

After the Sunset is a fun-to-watch movie and what it lacks in plot it more than compensates for in character development. Max starts out as a selfish man, who was only interested in satisfying his ego as a burglar but near the end and after realizing that he was about to lose a jewel that he already owned—Lola—his outlook on life changes. Many fail to realize that After the Sunset in the end is all about Lola and Max.

Must-see-scenes: the fishing trip that Lloyd invites Burdett to; the shark shooting on the fishing boat; any scene involving Salma Hayek on the beach; the pranks Lola and Max play on Lloyd; the romance that brews between Sophie and the jinxed and accident prone Lloyd; and when Burdett and Lloyd are caught sleeping in the same bed after the latter was kicked out of his beach house.

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