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After the Rain

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.

With:
With: Paul Bettany, Louise Lombard, Ariyon Bakare, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Ingrid Emslie, Anton Smuts.

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.

After the Rain

South African

Production: A Capella Intl. presentation of a Brad Wyman production. Produced by Melanie Greene, Keri Selig, Paige Simpson. Executive producers, David Korda, Alessandra McAliley. Directed, written by Ross Kettle, based on his play "Soweto's Burning."

Crew: Camera (color), Koos Roets; editor, Jim Ruxin; music, Hummie Mann; production designer, Birrie le Roux; costume designer, Diana Cilliers; sound (Dolby), C. Kuhnie; assistant director, Diana Kean; casting, Johanna Ray. Reviewed at Seattle Film Festival, June 5, 1999. Running time: 110 MIN.

With: With: Paul Bettany, Louise Lombard, Ariyon Bakare, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Ingrid Emslie, Anton Smuts.

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