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After the Sunset
2004 - PG-13 - 100 Mins.
Director: Brett Ratner
Producer: Jay Stern
Written By: Paul Zbyszewski, Craig Rosenberg
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Selma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, Don Cheadle, Naomie Harris
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.afterthesunset.com
   

Burdett, Max Burdett
Suave and masterful thief Max Burdett (Pierce Brosnan) has decided, along with his longtime partner and lover Lola Cirillo (Selma Hayek), to retire to the Bahamas after completing yet another successful jewel heist. They are trying to enjoy their vacation when FBI Agent and Burdett's perpetual nemesis, Stan Lloyd (Woody Harrelson) shows up. Lloyd believes that Burdett's vacation/retirement is just a front for another heist. Lending this hypothesis more credibility is the fact that a cruise ship holding the only Napoleon Diamond that Burdett hasn't stolen is about to dock. His investigation into Burdett soon involves a local police officer (Naomie Harris) and the self-proclaimed "Unofficial Mayor"/kingpin of the island (Don Cheadle).

'After the Sunset' is one great ride of a motion picture. From the very beginning the film takes hold and never lets go, holding one's interest not only during the well-executed set pieces but also when the film takes time to develop the varied cast of memorable characters. Director Brett Ratner ('Red Dragon and the 'Rush Hour' series) and screenwriters Craig Rosenberg and Paul Zbyszewski have made certain that the film is differentiated from other similar films of past years, of utmost importance given that the "one last heist" sub-genre isn't exactly the most original plotline to come down the cinematic pipeline. They succeed by effortlessly blending taut action, well-developed characters, and refreshingly self-effacing humor, which allows for some cheeky cameos by the likes of Jeff Garlin ('Daddy Day Care', 'Sleepover') and Mykelti Williamson, among others.

What the film perhaps does best is keep the viewer on the edge of their seat through a well-planned cadre of plot twists that not only manage to surprise at times; they are also, thankfully, much more plausible than is the norm in films of this type.

The talented cast lends a helping hand as well. Once again playing the suave and debonair persona that he does exceedingly well, Pierce Brosnan is perfectly cast. As his partner, Selma Hayek is also quite good, especially in establishing perfect chemistry with Brosnan. As the sometimes bumbling but always thinking FBI Agent Stan Lloyd, Woody Harrelson lends a combination of authority and goofball comedy that he has done well in the past, dating back to his days on the television sitcom "Cheers." Important too is the fact that he and Brosnan also share a wealth of on-screen chemistry, instantly appearing to be nemeses and yet buddies at the same time. I'd like to see a film where they team up, as it is well-documented that director Ratner can helm solid buddy comedies. Don Cheadle brings an extra dose of authority and skilled acting, as if the film wasn't overflowing with it already.

The technical credits are also top-notch, with cinematographer Dante Spinotti filming the gorgeous scenery with aplomb and Lalo Schifrin aiding with an always entertaining musical score.

I can't say enough about 'After the Sunset.' Its fusion of action, comedy, and romance make for one of the best films of the year, bar none.
 
Movie Guru Rating
A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic.
  5 out of 5 stars

 
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