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By Anthony Miele | February 14, 2001

John Mellencamp is a police photographer. How are we told this? The film opens with him taking pictures of dead bodies. It is a good thing that the filmmakers decided to”tell” us this because, had they decided against it, we may never have figured out just what the man did for a living and the outcome could have been completely confusing.
Joe (Mellencamp) has had enough. In a moment of rage, he takes all his beloved pictures of dead people and throws them (along with his very expensive camera) into the river. This is the scene where we learn that he just does not care anymore. The film that follows is pretentious, incredibly confusing, poorly written, contrived, and worst of all, has excuciatingly bad acting.
Joe’s aunt (who raised him) is dying of some old lady disease. Joe’s brother is a retard (a plot point that may have been needed in earlier drafts, but alas, the ‘tard bro could have been lost altogether in the filmed version). Joe just fell in love with a hot deaf chick who gets naked constantly (hence the ½ star) and has weird visions. By the way, she is 20…he is 51 and wears the same jacket throughout the ENTIRE picture.
So, he and the sexy Helen Keller are strolling down the street, speaking with their hands, when they stumble (literally) across a murdered girl. It turns out that the killer is an egg sorter. Really. An egg sorter. Why is he an egg sorter? The film never makes any attempt at an answer and maybe we are people better for it. Really, how would this ridiculous film explain the “egg sorting” job anyway, but it does bring up some interesting questions: Does the egg sorting community have a high rate of killers under their employment? (Please, egg sorters, take no offense) This brings up another pressing question: Is he a killer because he is pissed that he is an egg sorter or does the egg sorting industry attract killers?
Sadly, Mellencamp’s “Joe” is strangely one dimensional. When he wishes to show anger, he is monotone. When he needs to show love, monotone. Frustration? Guess. Let us not forget about the cane-carrying police detective who is about as credible a cop as Mellencamp is a photographer.
“After Image” quite simply gets worse and worse as the reels thin and ends on a highly unoriginal note. Far too many scenes occur with no motivation or clear reason; in fact listing these ridiculous scenes or any attempt at an explaination would be a waste of your time. Maybe all would be solved if Mellencamp enrolled in the Jon Bon Jovi School of the Arts…we can only hope.

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