Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Directed by Clint Eastwood.
2010. Rated PG-13, 129 minutes.
Matt Damon
Cécile De France
Frankie McLaren
George McLaren
Jay Mohr
Thierry Neuvic
Bryce Dallas Howard
Lyndsey Marshal

Let me start with this: Clint Eastwood is one of my favorite directors working today. He’s made some of my favorite movies across several genres. There’s Unforgiven (western), Million Dollar Baby (sports), Letters From Iwo Jima (war) and Gran Torino (bigoted old fart).

With that out of the way, let’s talk about Hereafter. It’s one of those movies that follows several supposedly unrelated storylines that will, at some point, intersect. First, we meet Marie (De France) the French TV news reporter who miraculously survives a tsunami while on vacation in Indonesia. Byt the way, this is the first ten minutes of the movie and by far, the best scene. Next, there’s Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George McLaren), the English twin brothers who miraculously survive a constantly drunk mother. Finally there’s the American, George (Damon) who’s miraculously survived boring himself to death. He also happens to have a genuine ability to talk to the dead.

Starting with Marie’s little tangle with the tsunami, the question that hangs over the proceedings is: what happens to us after we die. She pontificates on it every chance she gets. Don’t worry, despite all her talking she doesn’t actually say anything. Eventually, she pens a book claiming to have scientific proof. Um…okay. Any chance we can get a peek at this? Of course not. The twins get in on this whole issue because Jason dies and Marcus goes on a quest to find someone to help him communicate with his brother. Hmmm, wonder where this is going? George tries not to know. He’s a little ornery because his ability has robbed him of a normal life. His own brother keeps trying to get him to use his powers because there is big money in it. However, it’s the big money and accompanying spotlight that drove George into self-induced exile. Anyhoo, this plays out for two hours. Two long hours. Two long, boring hours.

To be fair, Eastwood manages to inject some intrigue here and there. We get a few interesting scenes and our interest piques because we get the sense that this whole thing is eventually going somewhere. It doesn’t. Actually, it does. It just doesn’t go anywhere near where we though it was going. Often, this is a good thing, gives a movie the element of surprise. Here, it’s a bad thing. It’s a very bad thing. It makes an already pretentious movie even more so. The three strands of the story come together in a most contrived manner for an utterly corny ending. Worst of all, it never even bothers attempting to answer the question it spends nearly its entire runtime beating us over the head with. If you’re curious about the possibility of a hereafter go speak to your local clergy, read some books on the subject or google it. Whatever you do, don’t try to find the answers here.

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