Tuesday, July 03, 2012

AFTER DARK, MY SWEET (1990) - James Foley

Another in a continuing cavalcade Jim Thompson noir adaptations. After Dark may not be the best, but in terms of mood, its grim remorselessness, it may be the most faithful to its source. Jason Patric  nails the part of Kid Collie, a washed-up boxer on the lam from an insane asylum after punching an opponent dead in the ring. He soon drifts his way into a lazy kidnapping scheme concocted by ex-cop Bruce Dern and sultry widow Rachel Ward. He keeps assuring them both he's not dumb or punchy, just used to conversing with lesser types. Frankly, Patric plays dumb so smart he keeps you guessing. And you thought he was just a Lost Boy. Tsk-tsk.
The weak link here is Ward. She seems to be working a little too hard against her more British sensibilities to be a true Thompson femme. But kudos to her and director James Foley for keeping it appropriately heartless where kids are involved. There's a certain tendency in kidnapping movies (and movies with children in general) to get a little too precious with the child at its center. Until the very end, Ward is the one character is fine with letting the little tike die without his insulin.

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