Obscenities, murder, kidnapping, alcoholism, promiscuity, violence, and brief rear male nudity
Having brutally beaten an opponent to death in the ring, Kevin “Collie” Collins is a scruffy, punch-drunk, ex-boxer who escapes from the mental hospital where he was sent after his last fight. At a bar in the desert town of Indio, Collie picks a fight with the bartender, then picks up Fay, a hard-drinking, seductive widow who claims that her husband is not only dead, but “gone to hell.” Fay takes Collie under her wing and puts him to work as a handyman on her rambling estate, a desert-style bungalow that’s gone to seed.
Fay introduces Collie to a former policeman she calls “Uncle Bud,” a small-time chiseler with a dozen scams at work simultaneously, but who is inept at heart. The wily ex-detective engineers a scheme that involves Collie in a plot to kidnap the young son of a wealthy Palm Springs family.
However, Uncle Bud keeps you guessing about his true allegiances. Are he and Fay setting Collie up for a fall? Is Fay’s attraction to the ex-fighter for real? Nobody talks straight, and according to director James Foley, “The whole story is really about who trusts whom and what happens if you don’t trust anybody.” Ingenuously, he asks, “Does not trusting someone (then) become a self-fulfilling prophecy?” Consequently, there is mordant humor in watching these low lifes try to double-cross one another.
For all intents and purposes, director Foley puts these losers out in the desert sun to rot. Collie believes in nothing — a futile, purposeless life. In fact, none of the characters have any real reason for living. They are caught in an angst-ridden, life-without-meaning tale whose story fails miserably. Just what is this movie trying to say anyway? Its premise eludes.
If your idea of entertainment is found in coarse stubble, a slack jaw and haunted stare, then Jason Patric’s Collie may mesmerize you. Moreover, if performances such as his, which include lethal doses of obscenities, excessive drinking, sex outside of marriage, kidnapping, and murder, don’t bother you, then perhaps you may want to hasten the moral demise of the country by going to see AFTER DARK, MY SWEET.