Strong acting can’t save sad plot

The combination of Clint Eastwood’s directing and Matt Damon’s acting seems promising at first, but two hours of dull, drawn-out storyline leaves the audience wanting something more. Hereafter shows the necessity of a strong and compelling story line.

Three story lines compose the main account of Hereafter. The life of a French reporter, Marie Lelay (Cécile de France), is drastically changed by a mysterious near death experience during the Indian Ocean tsunami. She is then consumed by the urge to research life after death.

A British boy, Marcus (Frankie McLaren), loses his twin brother in a car accident and attempts to communicate with him in the afterlife. And a blue-collar worker, George Lonegan (Damon), has the unique ability to communicate to people in the afterlife – an existence referred to as the “hereafter.”

The depiction of the hereafter itself, a black-and-white, weightless existence, seems depressing and certainly not something to look forward to after death.

Eastwood’s normal flair is evident in the film, as each of the three stories draws the audience into the characters’ feelings and emotions. However, the stories are written into a single screenplay, when the only common characteristic they share is the touch of death.

The three stories finally combine in possibly the most anti-climactic setting possible, the London Book Fair. Marcus gets to talk to his brother, and George and Marie meet and begin a romantic relationship.

Damon actually suggested Eastwood recast his character in an e-mail, suggesting Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, or Josh Brolin because of a scheduling conflict. But Eastwood, so impressed by Damon’s acting performance in the film Invictus, re-adjusted the filming schedule to accommodate Damon.

Even Damon’s acting prowess could not improve upon Hereafter’s downfalls. It was three somewhat compelling stories, awkwardly intertwined and unrealistically themed.

Author: Stephen Webster

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