Rating: 7.5/10 - Very Good
What if there was life after death? Hereafter touches on the lives of three seemingly unrelated people, who all, in some way, believe that there is more to death than just dying, as they come to grips with the reality of death.
Director: Clint Eastwood. Screenplay: Peter Morgan. Producers: Clint Eastwood, Kathleen Kennedy and Robert Lorenz. Executive Producers: Frank Marshall, Tim Moore, Peter Morgan and Steven Spielberg. Cinematographer: Tom Stern. Editors: Joel Cox and Gary Roach. Score: Clint Eastwood. Distributor: Warner Brothers. Starring: Matt Damon, Cécile De France, Frankie McLaren, George McLaren, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jay Mohr. Running Time: 129 Minutes.
George is a virtual recluse after years as a stage psychic in the line of John Edwards. A genuine psychic with an ability to contact people’s departed on the other side, he longs for normalcy, yet realises that his extraordinary gift leaves him continually on the outside looking in. Marie is on holiday when the tsunami hits. Tossed by the giant wave as it drags her along and eventually under in a terrifying sequence, she dies, only to be resuscitated. Twin Marcus mourns the tragic loss of his brother, seeking any help to speak to him again.
Eastwood moves the story from the streets of London, to Paris to the States. Each story gently unfolds, examining the quiet desperation that each character experiences in their quest for meaning, for answers and for some sort of comfort.
Matt Damon is excellent in his sensitive portrayal of George. His scenes with Bryce Dallas Howard as he tries his hand at cooking are at times awkward, touching and sad. Cécile De France is subtle as the determined Marie, and the role of Marcus played interchangeably by George and Frankie McLaren is heart-breaking.
Eastwood has created a film that is thought-provoking, and gently compelling. This is no thriller or bump in the night melodrama about ghosts or spirits. For some, after the drama of the opening sequence, the slow steady pace of the film might seem dull. Likewise, the slightly contrived ending jars on what is an otherwise interesting exploration of a potential afterlife. However sceptics will well appreciate the scenes of Marcus trying to contact his brother with various charlatans.
Special features include behind the scenes, featurettes, casting, locations
Verdict: A fascinating snapshot into three people’s lives as they deal with death. Excellent.
Hereafter is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.