September 14, 1990 at 04:00 AM EDT

After Dark, My Sweet

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
114 minutes
performer
Bruce Dern, Jason Patric, Rachel Ward
director
James Foley
distributor
Avenue Pictures Productions
author
James Foley, Robert Redlin
genre
Drama, Mystery and Thriller
We gave it a C+

In this adaptation of Jim Thompson’s 1955 novella, the characters keep thrashing around on screen, as though something terribly important were going on. Jason Patric gives a good performance as Bill ”Kid” Collins, a volatile, childlike drifter who falls into the clutches of a couple of desperate schemers (Rachel Ward and Bruce Dern). The three launch a kidnapping that’s destined to fail, and Patric and Ward keep taunting each other. After Dark, My Sweet is cool and compelling for about 45 minutes, but it has a clinical, hothouse garishness that grows oppressive. What’s really weighing the movie down is the ghost of Thompson himself. The late pulp novelist has acquired such a hoity-toity reputation that his grimy little melodrama has become fodder for an existential art film. C+

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