A family coming apart. That’s the focus director Pieter Gaspersz takes on in his second feature, After. This subject was done to classic effect back in 2007, with Sidney Lumet’s final film, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. Gaspersz settles for TV movie muddle.
The plot circles around the Valentino family, taking place sometime after the events of 9/11. We open on the Valentino family in upstate New York, as they are all suppose to meet for dinner at the parent’s house, played by John Doman and Oscar nominee Kathleen Quinlan. Tension in the family is immediately evident, as some of the siblings don’t show up on time, and the one’s that do, are just given shit by the overbearing father. The constant arguing between all of them, taking place at either the parent’s house, or at the family shop, or at a bar run by one of the daughters, Maxine(played by Sabrina Gennarino), sets up clues for a secret one or more of the family members might be keeping from the other. Another big pointer comes in the form of videotapes the parents watche of another one of their daughters, as a way of staying in touch with them, as she seems to never be present. With all of the over-acting, best in show is Adam Scarimbolo, who plays the younger and troubled son, Nicky. Another decent but criminally underused performance is by Diane Neal(Law and Order: SVU), who plays Kat.
I didn’t care about a single one of these characters. And the script, written by Sabrina Gennarino, throws every dramatic cliche it can, from family financial troubles, to unapproved marriages, with gaping plot-holes and predictable dialogue in between. And Quinlan‘s performance as the nutso mother, is unintentionally hilarious, when it should be the dramatic part that leads the film. Watch for it when she loses her mind over a flower she accidentally kills, showing signs that she might be mentally distraught.
Luckily, things pick up in the film’s mid-section, but right before it all leads to wholly outrageous, and offensive twist ending(watch for the videotapes). The only thing you’ll feel after After, is that you’ve just witnessed Lifetime movie utopia.
What are your thoughts?