“The After Party” Is at Its Best In Between the Parties

The latest Netflix original, The After Party, find its voice in the quiet spaces in between the noise. The moments away from the parties is where the friendship between aspiring rapper Owen (Kyle Harvey) and his ersatz manager and long time friend Jeff (Harrison Holzer) bonds, breaks and reunites. It is where they can drop the pretense of hip hop swagger and be honest and true to each other.

There are three parties, in The After Party, but they act as noise, a delaying tactic to separate Owen and Jeff until the big insight and the final reunite. Nothing essential plot or character wise happens at them. They exist to give a cameo to the real rappers who quite likely gave financial contributions to the production. The After Party was produced by the hip hop aggregate web collective World Star Hip Hop.

Jeff and Owen only become true friends, collaborators and musically and commercially successful when they can screen out all the hip hop swagger and pretense that the parties represent. The After Party becomes a plea for hip hop to drop its gangsta swagger and star getting real, as in real life experiences and emotions not easily reducible to clever rhyming lyrics.

At its heart, The After Party is a clever hybrid of Martin Scorsese’s After Hours and Hal Ashly’s The Last Detail, two films about finding identity and true friendship in the distractions of life.

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