I’ve never accused a movie poster of false advertising, until now. When I saw the name “After the Fall”, with a grizzled guy standing in front of the American flag holding a gun, I was expecting a blood spattered, incredibly tacky action flick. Instead, what I got was a study of morality and how far it will take an average Joe during the direst of circumstances.
We meet Bill Scanlon (Wes Bentley) as he’s poking around in a car at a scrap metal yard. Because he used to be an insurance agent, we think he’s there to work a claim. Turns out, he’s an out of work insurance agent who just can’t get insurance out of his blood. Scanlon still can’t bear to tell his wife and young sons about the loss of his job, so he leaves the house in the morning every day and returns at night like he’d been working all day. Generally, in real life, someone could only pull off this feat for about a week. In movie time it goes on for like… I don’t know a decade? Just know it’s a ridiculously long time. After realizing that people might start to notice he’s got no money coming in, he robs couple at gunpoint and so starts his career as a bank robber.
This movie was clearly meant to be psychological, in kind of a ‘what would you do?” scenario. The problem is, all of this is so unbelievable. First off, I get that they want to make this guy white collar in order to show how far down he’s sunk, but hasn’t anyone told the writers of this movie that the insurance industry is actually booming right now?
Next is how fast this guy decides on the whole ‘life of crime’ route, rather than just filing for unemployment like a normal person. One minute he’s broke, and the next he’s like “hey, you know what? I think I’ll rob people now.” If you’re going to turn a movie like this into a psychological study, then you need to actually write a character in a way that a normal person could actually relate to. Give the guy more reason to turn to crime rather than, “I lost my job in insurance.”
I mean, I worked in insurance before. When I left that job, I don’t walk out all forlorn. I pretty much back-flipped out of the building.
The scenery and symbolism are overdone. It’s like they couldn’t be intellectual with plot, so they decided to do it with scenery and contrast. They contrasted water with the harsh desert landscape of New Mexico so many times, I spent half the movie in the bathroom.
Silly plotting and unconvincing psychology makes this movie not buyable, despite all the lofty dialog. Though there is one thing I did like about this film.
That would be the grizzled, hard drinking detective played by Jason Isaacs. This law man has no morals and could have come right out of an Elmore Leonard screenplay. He was possibly the most well written, dimensional character, but he was only a bit part player, compared to how long the lead spent moping about.
“After the Fall” fell a bit flat for me, and I can’t even say this one was worth the watch.
WE GAVE IT: 2 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!