22 December 2014 | Rodrigo_Amaro
Unusual but has its moments
The film's poster convinces us that what we're about to see is another ordinary action film, with touches of an empathic and gripping drama destined to make us support the main character's actions. Don't be fooled by that image. "After the Fall" is a good drama with small portions of action, and the latter isn't all that compelling or exciting. Wes Bentley stars as a desperate man who takes extreme measures after losing job and being unable to take care of his family, surrounded by debts after debts. His only option: committing crimes, mugging the residents of his small town. On his trail there's a decadent detective (Jason Isaacs) who is trying to catch this new suspect who appeared in town all of sudden, but they barely knew they would cross paths early on and become buddies who are stuck in saddening times, with their personal crisis and just trying to find a way to live their lives.
More artistic than entertaining, "After the Fall" treats its themes by appropriating itself of some of Terrence Malick's techniques - though more conventional to mainstream audiences - with the use of the main character's narration remembering the lovely times he had with his family in their big house and their pool, describing the love and care he had for his wife and kids; and also appropriates of some "Breaking Bad" elements, without ever getting on the same level of greatness. Mr. Saar Klein's debut as director comes across as simple-minded, clichéd yet manageable and interesting due to the performances of Bentley and Isaacs (who steals the show, this time without playing the villain). Bentley was a decent anti-hero, you get easily involved with his obstacles, and enjoy each time he tries to help people in worst conditions than him (like the female cashier - but hey at least she has a job, awful but still), almost getting close to being a hero (helping the old man who spotted him before a robbery at a drugstore).
And if the movie loses points is because of its lack of alternatives and unusual conceptions. Why the lead character never, at no point, tries to get another job? He's stuck in that weird business, still trying to impress his former boss when he's no longer part of the company in ages. That part was really strange. And since when stealing pocket money from other people can be enough to make one rescue his taken car? He survives from stealing to stealing, and it's all very unconvincing. I won't even mention the solution given at the conclusion which the writer simply fast forward with a plausible explanation.
Here's another modern treaty about the swifty American dream; there's always crisis and always unexpected solutions but family always comes first. Even though you're about to lose them. 6/10