If, like me, you were pretty much unaware of Dominick Dunne then don’t worry, as here’s a documentary that will give you all the info you would ever need on the “journalist.” After The Party is a look at the man’s life (mainly through his own narration and interviews) studying his fascination with celebrity crime.
From the opening credits we get a feel for this man and his obsession with himself and his own place within Hollywood as he regales an audience about how much he hates Frank Sinatra. Not the most endearing way to start a film (let alone a “documentary”). This name dropping continues throughout film with Steve McQueen, Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe all punctuating his self-importance.
Although his smugness is ever present, Dunne is wise enough to display his other side with his own admission that he “used to be an asshole” – a claim backed up by his son, the effervescent Griffin Dunne. Having said that, there are plenty of celebrities who still have no love for the man.
His fascination with ‘celeb’ is unpleasant (though understandable given the circumstances under which his actress daughter was killed) and his own status was boosted by his commentary on the OJ Simpson case in Vanity Fair, whilst during the filming he focuses on the trial of Phil Spector.
But the relationship is twofold – the media are as obsessed with him as Dunne is to it. Dominick is the ‘go to guy’ in celeb court cases. From an outsider’s point of view, it just adds to the disgusting air of celebrity that exists. We (and I mean people who are interested in such things) have saturated the market so much that our attention now has to turn to people on the periphery, thus elating them, giving them the status of that which they covet.
From a filmmaking perspective, After The Party is a pedestrian effort that has nothing distinctive about it at all. There is no flair for the visual or grasp of coherent storytelling present, making for a dull and frustratingly smug watch. Dominick Dunne will be a name you won’t want to hear about for long time.
ExtrasIf you can stand some more of Dunne, then there’s more footage of him (8 and a half minutes or so) in action during the “Extra Scenes” whilst you can also find out why the film was made by Australians, Kirsty De Garis and Timothy Jolley, in an interview section with them.