Film Review

James Foley’s AFTER DARK MY SWEET – A Review by Frank Mengarelli

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James Foley is master of deception, blurred lines, and skeevy noir. AFTER DARK, MY SWEET is a taut and mischievous opus. Jason Patrick gives his finest performance as a mysterious and unstable drifter who crosses paths with Rachel Ward as the sexy femme fatale, and the always superb Bruce Dern who is as sleazy as ever with his mustache, floppy hair, and aviators/Hawaiian shirt/Members Only jacket combination that shows us all we need to know about his character without him having to say anything.

ADMS Patrick

The double, triple, and quadruple crosses that build in this film keep us unsure of how exactly this story of lies and desire will unfold; yet however the plot unravels, it is not going to end well for anyone. Jason Patrick is electrifying as a mentally and physically unstable former boxer who drifts into the wrong place at the wrong time, slowly being groomed by Ward who has a penchant for alcohol, cigarettes, and sexual control.


Bruce Dern is the smooth talking man with the devious plan, giving one of his finest performances. Dern has recently been reawakened with NEBRASKA and Quentin Tarantino’s use of him in THE HATEFUL EIGHT and DJANGO UNCHAINED. He remains one of the most underrated and undervalued actors of all time. He is able to blend together sleaziness, affability, and menace all at once in such a way that it is amazing to watch.


Foley’s strategically slow camera pans, David Brisbin’s production design, costumes by Hope Hanafin – all these elements are masterclass and create a world of dilapidation and deception. The environment of this film is carefully crafted, and the details of the visuals are so grabbing that you can smell the cigarette smoke and taste the cheap wine. AFTER DARK, MY SWEET is one of those films that anchors itself as not only a staple transition from the 1980’s into the 90’s, but also a one of the best erotic noirs that has ever been made.

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