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Hereafter


Clint Eastwood's least interesting directorial effort of the double-aughts

Rod Lott March 15th, 2011

Call it poor timing, but Clint Eastwood's "Hereafter" opens with a Hawaiian tsunami sequence that is absolutely stunning (especially on Blu-ray) and totally deserving of its recent Oscar nomination for visual effects.

hereafter

Unfortunately, the drama has nowhere to go after that, increasingly become a real patience-tester at 129 minutes.

Cécile De France ("Mesrine: Killer Instinct") is a vacationer who barely survives that horrific disaster, during which she glimpses the afterlife. Twins Frankie and George McLaren play brothers, one of whom is killed in an accident, and communicates with his sib from the beyond. Ostensibly the central character, Matt Damon is a psychic who has all but sworn off his gift to hear the dead, which he sees a curse.

What do these three stories have in common, other than a tenuous connection between this world and the next? A rather contrived collision of story lines in the film's closing scenes, so forced and yet anticlimactic, you'll ask yourself, "That's it? What was the point of that?"

I'm still uncertain. If it was to convince viewers of the existence of an afterlife, Peter Morgan's (“Frost/Nixon”) lazy screenplay will not sway anyone to his side. Threads are introduced, only to be never knotted; those that are tied up do so slowly, resulting in Eastwood's least interesting directorial effort of the double-aughts.

If there’s a mitigating factor in Warner’s Blu-ray package, it’s the inclusion of critic Richard Schickel’s feature-length documentary, “The Eastwood Factor,” covering Clint’s entire Hollywood career, film by film. Since Schickel is a friend of Eastwood, who graciously participates, it’s essentially an authorized, one-sided retrospective, but a well-done one at that. —Rod Lott



 
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