Posted on 10/29/10 04:58 PM
A Film Review By: Sam Fragoso
Matt Damon and Cecille de France star in the new Clint Eastwood film, "Hereafter"
There's no doubt in my mind that Clint Eastwood's new film "Hereafter", has one of the most powerful opening scenes in recent memory.
The film starts with Marie LeLay, a French journalist that has no idea what is about to come. As she goes out for her morning walk on her vacation, a terrifying tsunami comes and wipes out the whole city in Indonesia. As she battles to stay alive against the current of the tsunami, a random object in the water suddenly strikes her from behind and knocks her out cold. She then goes through a near death experience, where she can see people in her past that she cares about. But she doesn't die; luckily two men who survived the accident, revive her. As this extended scene is played out, Eastwood makes us feel like where they're with her, batting in the water, fending for her dear life.
"Hereafter" is one of those "Babelistic" films; separate stories that our set all over the world and in a coincidental sequence all meet at the end of the film, which is fine. Eastwood does this movie without making it to predictable or making us feels like that could never happen.
One of the characters in "Hereafter" is George, played by Matt Damon. He's a man that is confused and is at a crossroad in his life. He works at a minimum wage factory where he is trying to forget about his past profession, as a psychic. He believes that he can communicate with the dead, but doesn't want to use his talent anymore. He thinks it's not a gift, but a curse that was given to him at birth. You would think we the audience would be mad at him for not using his talent, but as the film continues Eastwood shows what happens when anyone gets close to George.
The second character(s) in "Hereafter" is a pair of twins that have an alcoholic and drug addicted mother. I don't want to reveal any crucial dramatic moments (there are many) that happen in the film, but I must say that Peter Morgan who wrote "Hereafter" does a superb job with the dialogue for these two kids in each and every scene.
The third and final crucial character is one I already mentioned Marie LeLay, played by the stunningly beautiful Belgium actress Cecile de France. Besides her terrible part in the tsunami, she's a French journalist, a very successful one. But after she experiences that near death sequence, she has a dramatic change on her outlook on life and what happens when we die. It even compels her to write a book about her accident and if there really is a "hereafter".
Let me start off by saying that Peter Morgan who wrote films like "Frost Nixon", "The Queen" and "The Last King of Scotland" does a seamless job here. Every character is so well written, that it makes it impossible not to care about the people on screen each and every second.
I also must compliment "Hereafter" on the effect that it left me and I'm sure others once the film concluded. It makes you think about death (for better or worse) and if they're really is something beyond it.
A lot of people are asking the question, if this a Clint Eastwood masterpiece? My answer is, it depends what your expecting from an Eastwood movie. No this is not like "Mystic River" or "Million Dollar Baby", but it is a good film. But there are times in "Hereafter" that you can tell Eastwood is genuinely out of his comfort zone.
I have to blame some of the film's flaws on the editor. There are too many times in "Hereafter" where the scene is either cut way too short or it either goes on far too long.
"Hereafter" isn't a perfect Clint Eastwood film, there are many times where the plot gets to convoluted with it's characters and the sub stories there trying to represent. But the acting is top notch, the film is visually stunning and Morgan writes an exhilarating script. This is a film that you don't want to miss.
Matt Damon - George Lonegan
Cecile De France - Marie LeLay
Jay Mohr - Billy
Directed by: Clint Eastwood