Saturday, July 23, 2011

Review: Hereafter (2010) TH

Death doesn't always come a knockin'

On the surface, "Hereafter" is a film that takes on aspects related to the moment before death (including "close calls"), the shock of death itself, as well as the after effects of this oft-times tragic, misunderstood and hard-to-cope facet of life. We all wish things would last forever but that isn't always the case.

The film begins with separate stories involving seemingly different characters with varied age, gender and background, and, as fate would have it, makes the world a little smaller when you have a similar set of circumstances underneath all those social constructs. This is a slower moving drama that's made to relax and ponder upon. Part of the reason is due to dealing with George's (Matt Damon) ability to peak into the after life. Unlike other films that take on a person with special abilities, this builds itself up with enough time for the skeptics, myself included, to catch up. His powers aren't glorified by selling the audience a this-could-be-you storyline, but rather focuses on the search for his real self, including others who are looking at him for resolve, potential love or just plain greed. He's confident when tapping into his ability, though one can see that there are more truths in his readings of others than honesty in his own deeper feelings for himself.

"Hereafter" works as a film for the believer as well as the unbeliever, as it uses this supernatural premise to ask a pivotal question: Are some things better left alone or unsaid? Its gradual pacing can be its best friend and enemy, though it's still a movie that plays on what you wouldn't expect, often times panning a certain scene and not being so obvious on what it focuses on. This doesn't have action-packed car chases and there isn't a heart-pounding revelation at every single turn but the film manages to effectively capture some hope, acceptance, as well as realism even if the mode it's dealing with in the movie is a subject on the fence in real life.

Director: Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven, Mystic River, Gran Torino)
Starring: Matt Damon, Cecile De France, Bryce Dallas Howard
Website: IMDB