Directed by: Brett Ratner
Produced by: Beau Flynn, Jay Stern & Tripp Vinson
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle & Naomie Harris
Budget: $59 million
Box office: $61,347,797
Release date: November 12, 2004
Most people don’t usually think of Brett Ratner when they enter a conversation about iconic directors of this generation, or the last. This is no travesty as his name has no place in such a conversation and he’d probably admit that himself. Mr Ratner hit the big time in 1997 with Money Talks starring Chris Tucker and consolidated his success with Rush Hour in 1998, a great comedy, Rush Hour 2 in 2001, less so and Rush Hour 3 in 2007, my word Chris Tuckers gotten fat. The focus of this post however is on one of Ratner’s less well known works; After the Sunset.
This one hit the theatres in November, not a great time for a comedy of its kind, and the profit margin probably struggled to pay for Brosnan’s catering. The plot centres on a couple of diamond thieves, played by Pierce Brosnan & Salma Hayek retiring to a beautiful island in the Caribbean (which is actually in the Bahamas but they don’t want you to know that!). However, they are pursued by an FBI agent, played by Woody Harrelson, who is obsessed with catching the pair and enlists the help of a local police officer, played by Naomie Harris to do just that.
As well as breaking no records financially this film was panned critically. It was described as ‘uninspired’ and ‘bland’ holding a mere 19% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Surprisingly enough though, or not due to the title of this column, I actually enjoyed it.
Firstly; although it may tell a white lie about where on earth it actually is the scenery and environments in After the Sunset are awe-inspiring and the whole thing is full of vibrancy and colour. These days so many modern flicks are caked in washed out colours and more shades of grey than even E.L. James could handle so such visual splendour is nice to see.
The cast of this picture is also pretty weighty and for the most part puts in a good shift. Woody Harrelson is as predictability likeable, witty and enthusiastic as ever. Pierce Brosnan doesn’t exactly break new ground with his performance but he plays the suave diamond thief role well and him and Harrelson have great on-screen chemistry, a scene involving a fishing trip is a particular highlight. Don Cheadle plays the islands top mobster and although his screen time is pretty limited, due to having other filming commitments, he comes across as fairly menacing while still getting in some genuinely funny dialogue regarding his free-love policy and admiration for The Mamas & The Papas. The film is also kind enough to give us two beautiful leading ladies in Salma Hayek and Naomie Harris and although both have certainly done better elsewhere, Harris’s Caribbean accent is a little questionable at times, it never feels like they’re phoning it in.
In terms of action and set-pieces the film is honestly a little thin and perhaps this is one of the reasons why it was met with such indifference. After the Sunset clocks in at around 90 minutes and in that time it never really kicks in past second gear meaning that it lacks the pizazz of Rush Hour and a number of its other contemporaries.
However, as an easy-viewing comedy romp with great visuals, a solid cast, brilliant soundtrack (Kevin Lyttle, Rupee, Shaggy and Good Size anyone?) and a surprisingly sophisticated sense of humour this film ticks all the right boxes. I would whole heartedly recommend checking out After the Sunset with an open mind and I guarantee you will at least have a craving for an ‘umbrella drink’ by the end of it and that’s no bad thing.