During a networking party within the art world, our protagonist Lana is thrust into the shallow world of the artistically entitled. Her hopes of a professional meeting, with gallery owner Alan, have brought her here. He's a big deal in the art world, a Lana is hoping to impress him with both her commitment to photography, and her visual style. Things are not going quite as planned however, as the patrons of this after party are more akin to snobby brats than industry professionals - and Alan has yet to arrive.
As Lana's awkward and seemingly unwanted presence begins to wear on her, another unwanted guest seems drawn to her. A man she had met earlier during a mishap in a cab. Hollis, the man in question, comes across as arrogant, cocky and maybe even mentally unstable. He also happens to live in the same building as Charlie, the host of the party, and new gallery owner herself. Hollis is not impressed with Charlie's noisy party, yet sticks around and slowly begins getting to know Lana. As for Charlie? Turns out this particular evening is not going to go quite as planned.
This is all setup - with the real story, in my opinion, being much darker than a gathering for the artistic elite. "After Party" is all about character. Maybe even ones moral compass. This film explores our selfish nature, our desire to do good, how we cope with bad news and finally, the abuse of power by those in power. It's not all fun and games and to be honest? There's a lot more darkness than comedic relief. "After Party" is all the better for it. In a nutshell? Come for the party and cliche characters - stick around for the darker dynamics and reflections of real world events.
First and foremost? This is a slick movie. Slick, polished, and reeking of anything but indie film. That look you can't quite describe - but always associate with indie flicks? It's nowhere to be seen. With that said, I'm not going to go down the rabbit hole of technicalities. Amos Posner and the crew, took a great story penned by Jesse Knight and ran with it. Their experience definitely shows.
As for the acting itself?The leading and supporting cast all do terrific jobs here. No surprise. Laura Dreyfuss as Lana, perfectly captures the hopeful photographer that wants to make a difference. Someone thrust into shark filled waters, with nothing but her hopes and dreams. But also not a push-over. She's the strong woman that this character needed. Sean Kleier and Rachel Nichols are both outstanding in their supporting roles also. Both a little off balance, in different ways, but both able to hold our attention with no problems. Even Alan himself, played by Steve Guttenberg, does a smashing job with very little screen time to work with.
What really got to me was the background cast. Usually, even when the main acting is great in an indie flick, the background performers are a little... less than stellar. In this case? Not at all. This party feels like it could have really taken place. With real people. Us viewers were just flies on the wall. Well done all around.
When it's all said and done only one question remains. Was I entertained? Did "After Party" invoke any kind of emotional response from me? The short answer? Yes. From the occasional smile, due mainly because I could relate to something happening onscreen - to a deep seeded sense of disgust and even pity. All wrapped within an event that should, for all purposes, hold no interest to me at all. This is a film I recommend looking up - and have included links below. It's also a film that easily earns my four stars. Yet another reason indie film is shedding the stigma of being crap. A great film. No question.