Ill-conceived structure and a cliche-ridden script sink “After the Rain,” an apartheid drama with all the timeliness of “Gone With the Wind.” The only black character in this three-hander — despite strong work from the Brit thesps — is reduced to mute witness of its floundering white antiheroes. Bland liberal fantasy might look semi-OK to auds ignorant of the subject, but its dreadful music, ham-handed direction and drawn-out running time help make it a nonstarter for the politically savvy.
Pic’s transfer to screen (from helmer’s successful play) only makes its sub-Pinter dynamics smaller, with flashbacks explaining muddled attitudes of Afrikaner soldier Steph (Paul Bettany) that barely reach Psych 101 level. Things pick up a little when his g.f., Emma (Louise Lombard), forms a benign bond with Joseph (Ariyon Bakare), who has his own, equally banal flashbacks to drag around. When Steph finds the two pals in bed — chastely, as the film takes inordinate pains to explain, he goes nutso, tying up the non-lovers for a full evening of yawn-inducing belligerence. Almost no insightful or original turns of phrase are heard, especially once Joseph is forced to sit and glower the night away.