After the Sunset (2004)

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Released 21-Apr-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers'
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Commentary
Alternate Ending
Outtakes
Featurette-Before, During And After The Sunset
Featurette-The Charlie Rose Show - Interviews With Director And Actors
Featurette-Interview With A Jewel Thief
Featurette-Visual Effects Comparisons
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots-2
Easter Egg-2
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 93:21
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Brett Ratner
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Pierce Brosnan
Salma Hayek
Woody Harrelson
Don Cheadle
Naomie Harris
Chris Penn
Troy Garity
Mykelti Williamson
Obba Babatundé
Russell Hornsby
Rex Linn
Robert Curtis-Brown
Mark Moses
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Lalo Schifrin


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Pepsi
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    With the likes of recent films Oceans Eleven and Oceans Twelve dominating the box office and other remakes such as The Thomas Crown Affair and The Italian Job, you would be forgiven for thinking the heist film had been done to death. However, After the Sunset will change any preconceptions you may have regarding heist films, as it successfully blends so many other facets to create a visually stunning and very effective piece of escapism.

    F.B.I. agent Stan Lloyd (Woody Harrelson) has been pursuing Irishman Max Burdett (Pierce Brosnan) since the first Napoleon Diamond was stolen seven years earlier, and his name has become synonymous with embarrassment and humiliation within the bureau. After the second diamond is taken in spite of seemingly impenetrable security, a belittled Stan tracks down Max and his fiancé Lola (Salma Hayek) at their island hideaway in the Pacific, only to discover the last remaining Napoleon diamond in dock nearby, aboard the vessel Seven Seas Navigator as part of a travelling gemstone exhibit. Max and Lola insist that they are retired from crime and have no intention of stealing the diamond, but Stan is far from convinced and places them under close surveillance, hoping to catch them in the act.

    While Lola is content with their new lifestyle and seeks to find challenges in simple things, Max is restless, bored with island life and even more tired of lobster, tourists and umbrella drinks. Lola longs to marry and settle down, while Max longs for a hobby and she accuses him of orchestrating their new life on the island to coincide with the arrival of the diamond. Max fruitlessly attempts to justify himself by declaring, "sometimes the best way of dealing with temptation is to yield to it", so it would appear he is succumbing, until a group of local gangsters convince him to work for them instead. Their leader Henri Mooré (Don Cheadle) is a ruthless and shonky ex-businessman from Detroit who also happens to have an unhealthy obsession for music by The Mamas and the Papas. In an effort to simultaneously keep tabs on the locals and Max, Stan befriends local cop Sophie (Naomi Harris), who is seeking to further her career with a big arrest and offers to help Stan in exchange for partnership in the pursuit. A good old-fashioned game of cat and mouse ensues, riddled with crosses and double crosses between all and sundry.

    Director Brett Ratner (Red Dragon) has crafted what I feel to be the ultimate heist film. The photography of the culture, water and beaches of Nassau is breathtaking and there is so much else going on here that the actual diamond will probably be the last thing on your mind. This film is equal parts comedy, romance and thriller to a certain degree, and the intelligently written screenplay includes some truly memorable dialogue. The cast is similarly excellent, with Brosnan and Harrelson making the unlikely friendship between their characters so believable. Their pairing as a duo is great bit of casting.

    Whether you're a fan of crime films, or enjoy an intelligent and genuinely entertaining piece of escapism, you simply can't go past After the Sunset.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This film has been transferred to DVD in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement. In summary, the transfer is clean and sharp, as you would expect of such a recent production, however the transfer's MPEG encoding leaves a lot to be desired.

    The transfer is razor sharp and crystal clear, which is to be expected given the recent nature of the production. Shadow detail is first rate, strengthened by deep, strong black levels. There was no visible low level noise evident in the transfer.

    A considerable amount of colour enhancement has been performed in post production, and the result is breathtaking. From the deep blue of the ocean to the rich greens on land and bright clothing of the cast, the film's palette is very bold and lifelike. There is absolutely no colour bleeding or oversaturation present.

    I was very disappointed to find MPEG pixelation present throughout the transfer, in varying degrees of severity. The problem first became visible to me in the opening titles, which exhibit quite a bit of noise around the lettering and graphics. This issue continued throughout the film, visible on any expanse of detail such as thatched huts and greenery or even clothing. There are two scenes in the film that fared the worst under this low video bitrate; firstly the opening scene involving the basketball game, and later during the Junkanoo festival. Both of these scenes contain bright colouring, fast action and a great amount of detail, a combination which proves fatal as the relatively constant video bitrate of 5.2Mb/s struggles to cope. Personally, I would have preferred to sacrifice some of the extra material or split the content over two discs rather than put up with over compressed video. People using smaller CRT displays are unlikely to be as effected by the video quality, however projector users like me will be irritated. Thankfully, there are no film artefacts of any kind to report.

    Two English subtitle streams are included; one English hard of hearing and the other for the commentary. Both are very accurate and true to the spoken word, with no real issues of concern.

    This disc is dual layered (DVD9 format), however there is no layer transition placed during the feature. The total size of the feature is well under 4Gb, so it can easily fit onto one layer without interruption.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three English soundtracks accompanying this film on DVD. The default soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), with a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo option (224Kb/s) that I sampled periodically. The third soundtrack is a filmmaker's commentary, also Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). I have stated on other occasions that stereo options are a waste of space in my opinion, especially in this case where the extra room could have been utilised to increase the video bitrate. People without surround sound capabilities are unlikely to manually switch to the stereo soundtrack, rather they would let their player do a down mix of the default 5.1 audio.

    The English dialogue is distinct at all times and crystal clear. In the filmmakers commentary, Brett Ratner discusses raising the dialogue level in one scene specifically for the film's release on DVD, so obviously a great deal of attention has been paid to the effectiveness of the soundtrack. The film's ADR is seamless and realistic, while audio sync is faultless.

    Surround channel usage is fairly consistent and enveloping for the viewer. The film's opening scene at a Lakers game uses the surrounds to deliver crowd noise and cheering, while more subtle usage can be heard at 39:50 as water laps on the side of a boat. The most aggressive surround example occurs during the Junkanoo festival at 53:16, with loud bursts of brass and percussion coming from all directions. The score is also present in the rears consistently. Voices on the other hand are generally confined to the front centre channel and rarely stray.

    Although it isn't flagged as surround, the stereo soundtrack option responded very well to Pro Logic II processing, creating a full and realistic rendition of the surround mix. Rear activity was comparable to the 5.1 soundtrack, with crowds and gunshots to be heard alongside the score. Without processing, the stereo track does a good job on it's own, with good depth and strong panning to the left and right.

    The film's excellent score is credited to Lalo Schifrin and has a very bass guitar driven, 70s lounge feel. Kevin Lyttle also contributes some uninspiring R&B to the soundtrack, which cheapens the overall score in my opinion.

    There aren't a lot of loud explosions or special effects to warrant subwoofer usage, however the LFE channel is used to augment the soundtrack on many occasions. I felt that subwoofer usage was appropriate for the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are a couple of worthwhile extras included on the disc, most of which are English subtitled.

Menu

    The main menu page and page transitions are animated with some beautifully fluid CG graphics and accompanied by a short clip from the score in Dolby Digital 5.1.

Deleted and Alternate Scenes with optional Commentary (15)

    There are quite a few extra scenes here, playable individually or via a play all function. The optional commentary is by the same three chaps who contributed the feature commentary; Brett Ratner (Director), Beau Flynn (Producer) and Mark Helfrich (Editor). All scenes are 16x9 enhanced and nicely presented in 2.35:1, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Audio Commentary-Brett Ratner (Director), Beau Flynn (Producer) and Mark Helfrich (Editor)

    These three gents share a lot of interesting insights into the film's production, particularly the many re-shoots, re-writes, edits, locations and casting hurdles. Interestingly, Ratner reveals some minor tweaks he made to the film's soundtrack mix for it's DVD release. One thing that does get on my nerves is the way these guys speak over and interrupt each other often, so some interesting points that are touched upon don't get explored as they should. This commentary is also subtitled, however there doesn't appear to be a link to the stream in the menu so it must be selected on the fly.

Featurette- Before, During and After the Sunset (70:23)

    This Making Of traces the production of the film from pre-production to premiere, covering challenges such as location scouting, wardrobe tests, set building, and the perils of using locals as extras. There are many laugh out loud moments, usually involving Ratner interacting with actors on set during the sixty day shoot. Woody Harrelson's personal raw food chef is a similar source of laughs, with his questionable diet advice and stoner demeanour. One thing that I also found funny was that in this documentary Ratner is suffering from a reparatory tract infection and for the film's commentary he is nursing laryngitis. Poor bloke.

Outtakes (4:51)

    A rather lengthy reel of bloopers and staged shenanigans on the set. Some of these are shown in the making of.

Interview- The Charlie Rose Show with Brett Ratner, Salma Hayek, Pierce Brosnan and Woody Harrelson (18:24)

    If you've seen Charlie Rose in action before, you know what to expect here. The discussion is lightweight and friendly, as the guests discuss their characters in the film and their future projects. Since it was produced for television, this is presented in 1.33:1, full frame.

Featurette- Interview with a Jewel Thief (8:04)

    Brett Ratner interviews Bill Mason, thief of over $35 Million U.S. in jewels and author of the book Confessions of a Jewel Thief. Here they discuss Mason's childhood, assorted celebrities he has stolen from, certain techniques to be mindful of and several humorous anecdotes. One particularly funny story involves him going to great lengths to break into a house owned by the mob, only to find the safe wide open. Apparently his life story is being developed into a film, which should make for interesting viewing. This interview is presented in 1.78:1 but is not 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette-Visual Effects Comparisons (3:16)

    I was surprised to learn that over 150 CG effects shots were completed in the film, commonly to erase unwanted clutter from shots and improve the weather. This short featurette, narrated by editor Mark Helfrich, gives before and after examples of some of the less subtle effects used in the film. This is presented in 1.78:1, with 16x9 enhancement.

TV Spots and Trailers (3)

    The film's theatrical trailer (2:17) and two television promo spots (1:00) are presented in widescreen, but without 16x9 enhancement. The theatrical trailer includes Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Easter Eggs (2)

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Region 4 misses out on:

    Comparing script to screen can be very interesting, particularly for budding screenwriters and the galleries sound worthwhile. I'd advise you shop around for this one.

Summary

    After The Sunset is one of my favourite films this year; it doesn't take itself too seriously and manages to satisfy on so many levels. The direction, screenplay, locations, casting and performances are all excellent and I would recommend it to anyone.

    The video transfer is unfortunately marred by consistent MPEG compression issues.

    The audio transfer of the film has been fine tuned for DVD by the director and is surprisingly enveloping.

    The extras are worthwhile viewing and contain some hilarious moments.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using DVI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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