After review

:. Director: David L. Cunningham
:. Starring: Daniel Caltagirone, Flora Montgomery
:. Running Time: 1:33
:. Year: 2006
:. Country: USA


When I read the synopsis, After looked pretty promising, combining the virgin territories of urban exploration with a soundtrack by US electronic act The Crystal Method.

Shot guerilla style, After opens strongly in epileptic mode, while the big beats from The Crystal Method raise the pressure. I must admit I felt claustrophobic watching a group of explorers going down some narrow tunnel in Moscow.

While crafting documentary-style fiction could have allowed us to discover this new sport without losing a sense of drama, the screenplay instead quickly gets lost in some kind of mumbo-jumbo hysteria that verges more on David Lynch's twisted universe than on the Jackass-style stunts you would have expected.

Building on a twist you see coming from miles away — if you don't get it, check out the title — the film takes elements such as guilt, kidnapping, pedophilia, pregnancy, extreme sports, Stalin, torture chambers, atomic radiations ghosts and techno, mixes them, and then throws them in your face like some cheap drink.

I really don't know what went through the screenwriter's mind, but I suspect he may have taken some acid while exploring some dark underground in Lichtenstein. Had I been stoned or drunk — which actually was the case at AFI Fest where I saw After, courtesy of the VIP bar — maybe I would have tripped watching this. However, if you're sober, After will just be an insult to your intelligence and cinematic tastes.

  Fred Thom

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