After Dark, My Sweet

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+

After Dark, My Sweet
  • Movie
  • 114 minutes