What would you do if your life was suddenly thrown into turmoil and you could no longer support your family? That’s the premise of the new film from first time director Saar Klein who explores the basic human needs and survival instincts of a man on the brink and the mental toll that the subject experiences throughout his change. Can you justify your actions when you know that what you are doing is wrong? After The Fall will leave you wondering what you would do.
Bill Scanlon (Wes Bentley) is an insurance salesman with a beautiful family who rely on him. He’s a hard worker who tries to set a good example for his children and show them the values of being honest and hard working. Susan (Vinessa Shaw), Bill’s wife, is a supportive woman whose rich father has always been a tad judgmental towards Bill which leads to feelings of inadequacy for her husband. When Bill loses his job, he decides to hide the news from his wife while he looks for a new job. Each day Bill gets up and takes his young boys to school and heads out to drive around to deceive his wife into thinking everything is OK.
During one of his daily drives, Bill stumbles upon a man and a woman having sex in a model home and they mistake him for a robber. The two offer their money, which Bill quickly accepts, but there is a moral struggle of the situation is hard for him to accept. Knowing that he needs the money he takes it but utters to the couple “I’m not a bad person” before exiting the home. Seeing that there is an opportunity to make money by taking on a life of crime, Bill decides that his situation is that dire that the morality of his actions must take a back seat for the time being. His crime spree has begun.
While attending one of his weekly bowling night with the guys, Bill meets Frank (Jason Isaacs) an aging detective with troubles of his own. Striking up a friendship, the two quickly become an ear for each to listen to their struggles, but Bill is unable to confide in Frank for his deepest, darkest secret. With each dollar extorted from his unwitting victims, the weight of his crimes begins to effect not only Bill but the family as a whole. WIth each lie becoming harder to hide, can Bill continue to live this life of crime or will the mental strain become to much from him to bare?
Director Klein does a really interesting job of keeping a seemingly unlikable character and making the audience feel empathy for him. The character of Bill is very well played by Wes Bentley as he brings a believably realistic aspect to this struggling mans life. With each passing day, the audience is pulled further into the struggles of this characters life and you are forced to endure the hardships as your own which allows the viewer to experience the moral struggle for themselves. The rest of the cast, lead by Jason Isaacs, provide support and confirmation to the realism surrounding Bill’s struggles with his actions and show how one action can effect everyone around you.
Overall, After the Fall is a depressing film with a truly hard subject matter. If you are looking for a serious drama with some decent performances then you will enjoy this film.
3 out of 5
After Credit Scene?