Sunday, July 17, 2011

DVD - Hereafter

Disappointment. It's worse than watching an awful movie that you know is going to be bad. With Hereafter, I had heard some mediocre things about it, and it didn't even end up getting a theatrical release here. But I thought that you couldn't really go wrong with a Clint Eastwood movie. For starters, this movie is quality stuff. It's not like there's really crappy direction or random things falling out of nowhere or boom mics visible everywhere. No, it's a quality film. Unfortunately, this movie goes wrong on so many other aspects. It claims to deal with death, which is, of course, a very sad thing. But does it ever deal with it? I didn't think so. This film was really just two hours of people thinking they have a special connection to the 'afterlife'.

So here's my plot summary, done with the help of MS Paint:

These three stories are all 'connected' by one thing: a fascination with the afterlife. But the problem is, other than that, these stories have as much in common as a bean, rabbit and book shelf. They run along together like we're watching three separate films at once, instead of amalgamating nicely. When they finally did come 'together' at the end, it just felt really weird. What was even more annoying was the fact that the film didn't really end. I'm sure it was meant to be ambiguous, but it didn't go about that the right way. To be honest, when the end of the film finally came around, I was just happy that it was over and I didn't really care much for the characters any more.

The characters themselves didn't really gel well with me, either. It was a tricky subject to tackle, sure. But instead of taking this with a gentle approach, the film was instead very melodramatic. Matt Damon's character, George, seemed very whiny. I also thought that Damon was miscast in the role - he just didn't seem very vulnerable at all. However, I did quite enjoy the scenes he had with Bryce Dallas Howard, because they had some really good chemistry and the way their relationship was done was pretty interesting. Other than that, I really didn't enjoy his character/performance at all. Cecile de France plays the French journalist who survives a tsunami, and she seems really whiny too. I think I may have missed something, but I really didn't get why she was so fascinated with the afterlife. I realise that she was survived a pretty traumatic experience, but I don't think there was really enough for me to make me believe in her plight to get the afterlife known. But the story I didn't like the most was the one about the twins. This one was generally forgotten in favour of the others, and therefore it lacked emotional resonance. 

Hereafter has a very intriguing premise, but the results were anything but intriguing. It started out well, with a pretty impressive tsunami scene which was rightfully awarded an Oscar nomination for visual effects. Other than that, this film is basically Oscar-baiting gone terribly wrong. Good premise? Check. A few actual events? Check. An all star cast and an amazing director? Check. None of these could actually help Hereafter become worthy. It moves as slow as a snail, never bothers to surprise the audience and it feels like a car stuck in first gear. In short, I thought Hereafter was a terrible film. It's not one of the worst films I've seen, but it comes close. The film never really started, and it never really ended. Instead, there were three stories of people who I didn't understand, and just found whiny. Never did I think that Clint Eastwood could sink to something as melodramatic and as plodding as this? A few more drafts of the script and this could have been great, but otherwise, this was a forgettable experience.

THE VERDICT: Nothing really holds the film together, and it suffers from a plodding script that wastes it's good premise. 

What I hoped for:

What I got:


  1. I agree! I didn't like this much either. There was no coherency to the intertwining stories, and it was far from engaging. Dull, even! Damon was solid in an against-type role, but the performance of the young boy was quite bad! Instantly forgettable, unfortunately.

  2. I'm a big fan of Eastwood's directorial career but haven't seen this yet. The negative general consensus have put me off , but I will watch it soon because Roger Ebert had praised it for weeks before its national release and he's someone who often notices something worthwhile that the majority does not.

    That was a very funny plot illustration by the way.

  3. LOL! yes this movie was so extreemly boring and lifeless. i was so disappointed.

  4. Eastwood is one of my favorite directors of all time, as well as actors. So it worries me to see that you did not like this one. I'll have to check it out for my self though. Nice work!

  5. Andy - Totally agree with everything you said. The only reason I can't forget it is because of how disappointing it was!

    Ian - I'm a fan of Clint's directing, but this was baaaaaaaad. I did see that Roger Ebert was a fan, and maybe he saw something I didn't.

    Candice - It was boring, wasn't it?

    Matt - Check it out for yourself. But yeah, it was disappointing, coz I like all of the people involved with this.

  6. Interesting review. I personally found this film brilliant as I do most of Eastwood's films. It certainly is slow. For me, it was about people thinking at a higher and more spiritual level due to their experience of either traumatic events or spiritual gifts. This is why their everyday lives no longer satisfied them and why the various plot threads came together at the end. An almost supernatural quickening, as opposed to coincidence, of the like minded. This is a genre of film which has to be watched when you are in the mood.

  7. Hmmmmm...I thought it just has the potential to be all of that. Oh well, each to their own. I can see why people like this film, as it is by no means absolutely terrible.


You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.


Related Posts with Thumbnails