The Forgotten Man

Don't make me focus. You won't like me when I'm focused.People don’t bring up James Foley’s excellent adaptation of “After Dark, My Sweet” often enough, as far as I’m concerned. It’s one of those lean, unfussy films that lurks at the periphery of our memory, always being passed over for something flashier or more easily digested. But it’s a terrific example of sun-bleached noir, with a terrific performance from Jason Patrick and strong, complex support from Rachel Ward and Bruce Dern.

I’ve been thinking about it again because Mike D’Angelo writes about the film in depth today for the A.V. Club, in his latest “Scenic Routes” column, and opens with a variation on the sentiment I expressed above: This is a great picture, you should see this. I think that’s what film critics are supposed to do; we make compelling arguments for the films we want to champion, and smack down the unworthy distractions that get between those films and their potential audience.

Okay, that’s a little hyperbolic; criticism doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game. But sometimes it feels like it is … especially when you realize a movie like “After Dark, My Sweet” has been knocking around for two full decades without ever quite getting its due. And that’s a proper shame.

5 thoughts on “The Forgotten Man”

  1. It IS a great little film, and sports one of Maurice Jarre’s best electronic scores of the period.

    Of course, now that you bring up After Dark, My Sweet, I have to add Delusion to the forgotten film tally – Carl Colpaert’s 1991 American noir that no one remembers, when they should. Kyle Secor plays a fine screen arsehole, and Jennifer Rubin probably never had a better role. Weird Barry Adamson score to boot, too. There’s a reason I still have the laserdisc.

    – MRH

  2. I still don’t understand why “Delusion” never made it out on DVD — it MUST have its admirers. Maybe they can’t clear the rights to “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”?

  3. With this movie and Glengarry Glen Ross, it really seemed like James Foley was a promising filmmaker to keep an eye on. Then look at all the crap he made afterwards. It’s a shame to watch a director’s career fall apart like that.

    (Tried to post this comment earlier, but it didn’t take for some reason.)

  4. @ Josh — sorry for the trouble posting; I’m not entirely sure why, but my web server’s been wonky recently.

    As for Foley’s subsequent work, I still think “Fear” is pretty underrated. But yeah, “The Chamber”, “The Corruptor” and “Perfect Stranger” put him in a pretty deep hole …

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