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Hereafter - Blu-ray Review

{2jtab: Movie Review}

Hereafter - Blu-ray Review

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2 stars

I would watch a Clint Eastwood film about grass growing. The man is just that good. Not every film of the now 31 film catalogue is a winner by any stretch, but whether an Oscar winner, a fan favourite, or a miss—at least inasmuch that Eastwood does miss—the man always tries to give you your money’s worth, and rarely does anyone argue he hasn’t.

Eastwood’s back catalogue of subject matters is as diverse as his career has been long. You never know what he’ll choose to explore next, and that, in part, is the appeal of his directorial efforts. Eastwood never does the same thing twice.

His latest foray centres on the eternal exploration of death: how it affects us, what lies beyond it, and how it shapes the lives of those around us, as well as ourselves. Hereafter, a story written by Peter Morgan (Brit writer known for his royal biopics), is a multi-storyline about three different people, who, in very distinct ways, have to make their peace with death and its effect in their lives.

The first tale is of a popular French journalist who dies in the 2004 Asian tsunami, and is revived with memories of what lies beyond. The second is the tale of two inseparable twins who endure a tragic existence in the UK until one of them is faced with the challenge of facing a worse obstacle alone. The third is the tale of a psychic who has forsaken his abilities in the hope of trying to build a normal life—one where he can form sustainable relationships and finally achieve a sense of belonging.

Each individual thread eventually intersects in the hope of achieving some kind of resolution for each character. It is an unsuccessful experiment. The trouble with intersecting narratives with many characters is the lack of time afforded the audience to connect with them. Instead of spending a couple of hours with one good story, we are left to make do with a third of that on three. The effect, by and large, is surprisingly one note and predictable unravelling of their stories, with unoriginal contrivances for scenes that have been done many times before but with more depth. Any one of those stories is a film within itself, and the finale, where the characters individual adventures come to bear on each other’s lives, is not strong enough a payoff to warrant the time asked of the audience.

If actors like Matt Damon and Cecile de France cannot manage to illicit some emotion with their threads in the allotted time, newcomers and bit-players have no chance, and it is those performers, despite their best efforts, that fall very flat here.

There are some spectacular scenes, and the movie opens with a bang, but it’s essentially all downhill from there. Like many, many films nowadays, it can be quite frustrating to watch professionals at the top of their game doing their all in every aspect of the film and falling dramatically short only due to the narrative’s construction.

You can’t fault any of the major players or the crew for the unsatisfying feeling upon leaving this story. It simply wasn’t going to work no matter who made it.

As far as placing this in the pantheon of Eastwood’s offerings Hereafter is way down the list. Not one of his greats.

{pgomakase}

{2jtab: Film Info}

Hereafter - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic elements including disturbing disaster and accident images, and for brief strong language.
Director
: Clint Eastwood
Writer
: Peter Morgan
Cast:
Matt Damon; Dallas Bryce Howard; Jay Mohr; Cécile De France; Thierry Neuvic
Genre: Drama
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Memorable Movie Quote: "What do you think happens when you die?"
Release Date: October 22, 2010
Blu-ray Release Date:
March 15, 2011

Synopsis: Hereafter tells the story of three people who are haunted by mortality in different ways. Matt Damon stars as George, a blue–collar American who has a special connection to the afterlife. On the other side of the world, Marie (Cécile 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.

{pgomakase}

{2jtab: Blu-ray Details}

Hereafter - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - March 15, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (on disc); DVD copy

Sumptuous MPEG-4 AVC encoded picture—no complaints about how the film looks. Sound, not surprisingly is every bit as impressive. A passable making of, and a better documentary on Clint Eastwood himself. Also comes in a Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Copy pack (unpreviewed).

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • Step Into the Hereafter Focus Points (HD, 42 minutes)
  • The Eastwood Factor: Extended Version (HD, 129 minutes)

{pgomakase}

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