Posts Tagged ‘Hereafter’


matt-damon-in-hereafter-wallpaper-1_1920x1080_86422“Hereafter,” the new drama from one-man-movie-making-machine Clint Eastwood—this is his eight film in just seven years—begins with a tour-de-force sequence before settling in to a deliberate, but slow pace. In its opening minutes Eastwood stages a tsunami scene that shows a tropical beach town torn apart by a giant wave. Caught in the wild water is a French television anchor (Cecile de France) who later becomes obsessed with thoughts and visions of the hereafter following her near death experience. That’s the first of three stories Eastwood weaves together “Crash”-style to explore the metaphysical side of death. In other, unrelated plot shards Matt Damon plays an American psychic with the ability to speak to the dead—“It’s not a gift,” he says, “it’s a curse.”—and an English boy who longs to communicate with his dead twin brother.

Eastwood, working from a script by two-time Oscar nominee Peter Morgan has made a film that is by times engaging, by times plodding. On their own the three stories each have their merits but the film’s final third, where they are brought together, feels clumsy despite a touching climax between Damon and the little boy. It’s a nice moment, but it seems to take an eternity to get there. Ditto Damon’s interaction with the French journalist. Here Eastwood and Morgan have a chance to provide some insight into the woman’s story in the form of a letter Damon‘s character writes to her, but fail to. It’s a frustrating end to a movie that appears to have something to say.

On the plus side Eastwood creates nice moments of tension early on as he establishes the various story threads, and Damon once again proves that he is a versatile, interesting actor, but unfortunately the movie, so ambitious in scope—shot in three countries with a large talented cast—is let down by a self indulgent script.

Tripping the afterlife fantastic In Focus by Richard Crouse FOR METRO CANADA Published: October 22, 2010

HAD-07480r-HEREAFTER-Clint-EastwoodClint Eastwood’s latest film, Hereafter, concerns itself with what happens once you have, as John Cleese might say, “shuffled off this mortal coil.”

In the film, a woman has a near death experience, beginning her walk into a bright light surrounded by misty figures making a similar journey into that great goodnight. That’s just the most recent cinematic vision of what happens after death, but there are many more, some played for laughs, sometimes for drama and now and then for comfort.

In Deconstructing Harry, Woody Allen goes for the joke, taking the viewer on an elevator ride through hell’s nine floors, each reserved for a different kind of sinner. Best line? “Floor 7: the media. Sorry, that floor is all filled up.”

Tim Burton also had some fun with the afterlife in Beetlejuice. Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis get tips on how to haunt their old house in a book titled Handbook for the Recently Deceased. Best line? “We’re not completely helpless, Barbara,” says Adam (Baldwin). “I’ve been reading that book and there’s a word for people in our situation: ghosts.”

Taking the hereafter a bit more seriously is The Rapture, which sees Mimi Rogers almost reunited with her dearly departed daughter. This version of Heaven is much starker than the usual sweetness and light paradise seen on film; there’s no Pearly Gates or fluffy clouds with angels snacking on Philadelphia Cream Cheese. For that version check out the opening minutes of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel. The story of a dead carnival worker who asks for permission to be sent back to earth for one day to make amends for mistakes he made in life starts with a glittering vision of heaven, complete with sparkling stars. Best heavenly quote? “Here there is no time; this is the beginning and the end.”

What Dreams May Come, the 1998 film about a man who leaves heaven to search hell for his wife paints heaven as a place that, as Roger Ebert noted, seems “cheerfully assembled from the storage rooms of images we keep in our minds: Renaissance art, the pre-Raphaelites, greeting cards, angel kitsch.” The heaven in this film is a wonderful place “big enough for everyone to have their own private universe.”

On the flipside is the movie’s vision of hell as a surreal, dark place. Best quote: “Hell is for those who don’t know they’re dead.”