Some think about death when someone they know dies. Some think about it when they themselves face the unknown inevitability. Some refuse to think about it at all while others wake up in cold sweat in the middle of the night because it is all they can think about. Death is the one certain thing in our lives and relates intimately to each and everyone of us. So a film that promises to search the meaning of death and the possibility of an afterlife minus entertainment gimmickry à la an M. Night Shyamalan concoction, by a talented, octogenarian director is more than just appealing – it feels like compulsory viewing. Unfortunately, the great Clint Eastwood’s latest drama about three lives weaved into one script is lacking in ideas and audacity. Unlike Gran Torino, Hereafter skims rather than delves, leaving audiences unaffected by what should have been a hard-hitting philosophical film.
However, like holding a selective magnifying glass over life, Eastwood captures the little things with skillful precision. This is aptly amplified by the subtlety in his latest muse Matt Damon’s performance. Just watch the scene where he walks out from the cooking class after meeting a beautiful woman. Maybe death is on Eastwood’s mind but he seems to capture life a lot better than he does afterlife. Then, out of nowhere he’s added an extraordinary tsunami scene which has awarded him a Best Visual Effects Oscar nomination, a gong the vivid scene may just deserve but won’t win. I say “added” because in the end that’s what Hereafter feels like. An accumulation of various stories and scenes, ironically lacking soul.
Check your local DVD store.