Hereafter (tbc)

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Review byMatthew Turner28/01/2011

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 128 mins

Disappointing drama that's let down by a plodding script, painfully slow pacing, a number of emotional misfires and an atrocious child performance.

What's it all about?
Directed by Clint Eastwood from a script by Peter Morgan, Hereafter begins as holidaying French journalist Marie (Cecile De France) nearly drowns in a devastating tsunami and glimpses the hereafter, before being resuscitated and brought back to life. At the same time in England, young Marcus (George McClaren) loses his twin brother Jason (Frankie McClaren) in a car accident and is taken into care when his junkie mother (Lyndsey Marshal) is unable to look after him.

Meanwhile in America, construction worker George (Matt Damon) struggles to escape his past life as a professional psychic, because his gift for communicating with the dead is too much of an emotional burden. As Marie begins to investigate near-death experiences and Marcus searches for ways to communicate with his dead brother, all three are slowly drawn together.

The Good
The best thing about Hereafter is the impressively shot and edited opening tsunami sequence, although the CGI effects are frequently dodgy, to the point where you catch yourself thinking how bad they are. Similarly, Damon and De France are both good, but they're given so little to work with that they often appear to be sleepwalking through their scenes.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the film is also saddled with two of the worst child performances in recent memory – both George and Frankie McLaren deliver their lines like they're reading off cue cards and struggle to convince as a result. There's also an excruciatingly pointless cameo by Derek Jacobi as himself, and on top of that, the dialogue is flat throughout and the pacing is so slow as to send you to sleep.

However, the film's biggest flaw is that it falls victim to Remember Me Syndrome, in that it uses both the tsunami and the London terrorist attacks as a shortcut to cheap sentimental hits. It also refuses to explore or challenge its own subject matter and is in its own way as emotionally exploitative as the fake mediums it briefly condemns.

Worth seeing?
Hereafter is a badly written, poorly directed and frequently boring drama that fails to connect on an emotional level. Disappointing.

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Content updated: 21/01/2020 02:59

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