EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|HEREAFTER (director: Clint Eastwood; screenwriter: Peter Morgan; cinematographer: Tom Stern; editors: Joel Cox/Gary D. Roach; music: Clint Eastwood; cast: (George Lonegan), Cécile de France (Marie Lelay), Frankie and George McLaren (Marcus/Jason), (Billy), (Melanie), (Dr. Rousseau), Thierry Neuvic (Didier), (Himself); Runtime: 129; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Clint Eastwood; Warner Bros.; 2010)|
|"The climax was just as
incredulous as Clint's unconvincing
look at the hereafter."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Director Clint Eastwood ("Invictus"/"Gran Torino"/"Letters
from Iwo Jima") tackles the grim subject of death, a path that
we're all on but too many try to avoid the inevitable
by any means possible, as Clint tells us that most of
us have little knowledge about the hereafter or have
pat concepts of it drilled into us by organized
religion or follow phony beliefs layed out by
charlatan spiritualists or just try to avoid that
taboo subject. Clint asks, what if it were possible to
communicate with the dead and that communication would
relieve our dread of dying and would let us still have
contact with our loved ones. Unfortunately Clint uses
the Amores Perros and Crash filmmaking technique to
tell his story, as he borrows from them their gimmicky
storyline based on the interconnectedness-of-humanity.
The turgid script is supplied by Brit screenwriter
Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon/The Queen), and
he leads the very serious disaster film into a globetrotting
adventure that hits us with tragedies that face three
subjects, in three different countries, and in a portentous manner has the
subjects meet at a London Book Fair to tie a ribbon
around the dour story with at last some smiling faces.
The climax was just as incredulous as Clint's unconvincing look at the hereafter.
Glamorous and popular
French telejournalist Marie Lelay (Cecile De
France) is on holiday with her co-worker producer
Neuvic) at a beach resort in Indonesia and experiences a profound
spiritual awakening following a near-death experience
when she nearly drowns in a tsunami but is saved. Back
in Paris, Marie is given a leave of absence to get her
head together and she uses the time to write a book
about the hereafter. But her Paris publisher prefers a
political book that she promised on the former
and rejects her memoir on her near-death experience.
To the rescue comes an American publisher.
In San Francisco, the
Lonegan () was a successful online
psychic but grew weary of this gift and began to view
it as a curse. The bachelor now works as a forklift
operator and at night sits alone in his room and
listens to CDs of his favorite author Charles Dickens,
while his married businessman brother Billy's (Jay
Mohr) eyes light up envisioning big bucks as he's just dying to
commercially exploit his kid brother's gift but gets
only negative feedback. George is the real deal but
shuns his gift as he searches in vain to have a normal
life, and even enrolls in an Italian cooking course.
But the pretty vulnerable girl () he meets in class who
would ensure he's on his way to normalcy, only runs
away from him when she experiences how real is his
In London, 12-year-old
twin brothers, Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George
McLaren), live with their loving but drug addicted
single parent mom. When Jason is mugged on the street
and accidentally run over when fleeing the teenage
thugs, mom is sent to a psycho ward as an unfit mom
and Marcus falls apart as he is taken in as a foster
child by a pleasant couple at the request of social
workers. Marcus is obsessed with making contact with
his brother in the hereafter, and doesn't have
anything else on his mind but that.
Clint wanders into this hereafter mine field and comes up with a film that is gracefully done but never feels right or makes a connection with the dead or seems to be much more than sentimental drivel. It rolls along in its sleepy own way and when it comes up for air to connect all the dots, as the three destined to meet subjects at last meet--it feels as incredulous as Clint's blurry white visions of heaven. It left me speechless in the wrong sort of way, as I had no problem with the subject of the film--but it lost me when it kept veering back and forth following its three subjects and never provoked me to think further about the hereafter because I didn't think this pic had anything revelatory to say about the death experience.
REVIEWED ON 10/30/2010 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ