Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hereafter - Review

This movie, Hereafter, touches upon the subject of the possibility of life after death.  It primarily focuses on one near death experience of a hip young sexy female French newscaster caught up in a natural disaster.

Without being a spoiler if you have not seen this movie here is the storyline. 

A drama centered on three people who are haunted by mortality in different ways. George (Damon) is a blue-collar American who has a special connection to the afterlife. On the other side of the world, Marie (de France), a French journalist, has a near-death experience that shakes her reality. And when Marcus (Frankie/George McLaren), a London schoolboy, loses the person closest to him, he desperately needs answers. Each on a path in search of the truth, their lives will intersect, forever changed by what they believe might-or must-exist in the hereafter. Written by Warner Bros. Pictures
I like Matt Damon from the Bourne series.  One of his many acting masks is that of a strong silent loner type who of course happens to be handsome.

The movie is long but not boring to me.  It is laid back, subtle and not totally cohesive until the three main characters cross paths near the end of the movie.

The hip young sexy French newscaster is distracted by her recent near death experience.  She takes a sabbatical from TV to write a biography of some typically corrupt French politician.  She gets sidetracked and instead starts to research and write about the possibility of life after death.

As I said the movie is somewhat slow but not really boring.  All the threads eventually tie together.  You should be ready to spend a lazy afternoon to see this flick by yourself or with a loved one.  Two bowls of popcorn and two liters of Pepsi required perhaps.  It is not a thriller as sometimes advertised but just a cinematic slice of life of people living in Paris, London and San Francisco.

On many subtle levels one sees how hip young male dominated atheist French culture is afraid of death.  That the mention of death or an afterlife leads to some standard rebuttal of religion or such.  An independent opinion of the possibility of an afterlife even sans religion is verboten in polite French society.

The subtitles in English of the French in ten to fifteen percent of the film are small and probably designed for a large movie theatre screen.  Small but readable.  The French are so expressive in their body language to compensate.

The studio storyline puts Matt Damon as a blue collar worker.  While it is true he works in a sugar processing plant on the San Francisco waterfront, he has a past as a rather successful psychic dealing with the specialty of talking with the dead.  He has left that all behind because he considers it a curse rather than a blessing. 

He lives in a bubble world of hard work and evenings either taking adult education courses or listening to tapes of Charles Dickens’ novels.  Not much of a life.

The third character or characters are two British twins, boys, living in council housing, with social services trying to separate them from their drug addicted mum.  

Don’t want to be a spoiler here but I like the movie.  It is intellectual, which is not typical American movie fare.

Clint Eastwood directs.  His hallmark here is the subtle, focused and intellectual analysis of people in life and people looking for answers about an afterlife.

If I was a general TV movie critic I would give it a thumbs up with the improviso that only people interested in the subject of death and a hereafter would enjoy this movie perhaps better than a general audience. 

Acting, writing, cinematography, directing - a plus.