Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hereafter

This morning I saw Hereafter, starring Matt Damon and C├ęcile De France.

George Lonegan (Damon) is a retired psychic with a gift that won't stop giving. His brother Billy (Jay Mohr) is an enterprising businessman who convinces him to do just one reading for a Greek client going through a rough time. As a result of this spot-on reading, word gets out of George's abilities and Billy pressures him to return to his craft.

A few months prior, Marie (De France) survived what we must assume was the Sri Lankan tsunami, and has a tough time re-adjusting to life after her out-of-body experience during the tragedy.

As this is happening, Marcus (Frankie McLaren), a young British boy with a drunken mother, loses his twin in an auto accident.

Both Marie and Marcus go searching for answers following their respective events as George retreats into a solitary life of factory work.

Damon plays George so cold and guarded, he would be difficult to like if he weren't so appealing. That said, when faced with a burden of former fame, it's easy to sympathize with someone who doesn't want to confront death on a daily basis.

All of the stories are fleshed out well except the cameo by Bryce Dallas Howard, which still leaves me scratching my head. The overall topic of the film is engaging whether or not you're a believer in the afterlife, and the opening scene where the tsunami hits rivals any great action scene in recent memory.

But where director Clint Eastwood somehow misses the mark is in the quiet contemplation of each main character. Those suspended moments of thought and revelation don't need to be as long as he makes them, nor does the slow pace necessarily serve the screenplay well.

This film is like a beautiful piece of scenery captured by a camera that is just slightly out of focus, yet still pleasant to watch.

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