Friday, October 22, 2010

"Hereafter" (2010) - Movie Review

It is funny to read that Matt Damon described “Hereafter” as Clint Eastwood’s French film because that is exactly what I thought of it. This is not due to the fact that one part of the story happens in Paris to a character who is from France. This is a film which takes predictability, tearjerker, obvious plot conclusions into a relatable and comforting enjoyable experience. It does not toy around with your emotions in great deal but at the same time leaves with you a heavy heart. Clint Eastwood is an inspiring man and he keeps on pushing the envelope. After his mediocre “Invictus”, “Hereafter” is the film that could set up for a great next venture.

The film sees death and the small window of doubt and possibilities with great seriousness without religious blanket. It sees it as the experience of coming close to the white light and attain a sense of an emotional completeness. Death, even in the thought of me makes me want to cry, not the death of mine but of my near and dear. The thought of permanent departure is scarily sad and Eastwood instead of exploiting honours it in his film.

There are three stories connected by the phenomenon of death and the after effects of it. Cécile de France is the French journalist Marie Lelay, a Tsunami survivor. In her state of tipping the doors of death, she had a strange suspension out of reality. It meant something to her and she wants to pursue the meaning of it. There is Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George McLaren) tightly wound twin brothers handling difficult situations to get out of from the claws of social service as her drunk mother (Lyndsey Marshal) is hardly in control to take care of them. Yet they all love each other happily in sober mornings.

Then there is George Lonegan (Matt Damon) a genuine psychic who is leading a life of simple man. We can only imagine the strain and problems his ability comes along with. He touches people’s hands and a sharp jolt similar to what Marie experienced provides a capability to listen to the dead. Now if that sounds artificial and skeptical, Eastwood makes it best. Coming from someone who does have much faith on the whole afterlife concept, you might want to go with an open mind. You will sure be delighted.

The phenomenon is simply a material than the contending point in the film. Three of these lives are of course interconnected and there will be the juncture in the film (which you already know by now when) wherein Damon’s character has to connect for the little boy Marcus. Despite all these, Eastwood’s film takes Peter Morgan’s screenplay and makes people out of them and provides a French environment in a San Francisco setting.

The interesting of the three stories is without a doubt George’s not because of the ability he got but the difficulty he has going through with it. His life has gone all wrong with this as his brother (Jay Mohr) clearly has made it a business venture in the past and eager to bring George from the hiatus. But George wants someone with whom he can have pleasant dinner and connect with the living one. He takes up Italian cooking and meets a charming and attractive young woman Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard). Melanie is in there for a date and George is the eligible single man in the batch. We hope for an end to his solitude and have some companionship.

Marcus and Jason living in London are tough kids. Jason, the elder one is the smart and shrewd one while Marcus follows lovingly the decisions of his brother. In a tragic run of events Jason ends up dead and Marcus is set forth to foster parents. He is clearly alone and his look over brother has long gone. Death, they say provides little bit of peace when closure arrives. How can we explain closure to a kid like Marcus? Damon’s George provides that in the most astonishing and moving scene in the film.

“Hereafter” is not the greatest work of Eastwood but a unique and one of his best for sure. There is homage to the genre of French film making and as the genre itself, it is about the aura of the presentation and the simplicity of people’s character than the bigger agenda. What lies after death will be a doubt till you die and the film leaves it conveniently and deservingly so. This is the way I could tell a difference between a film falling for predictability and lethargic movie making from Clint Eastwood’s, when we hear the unabashedly used line “It is not a gift, it is a curse” in “Hereafter”, we relate and realize to the trouble and discomfort George Lonegan feels with a clarity shining through clear and clean.


Bombay Belle said...

Impressive review, must be a good movie then. Will let you know what I think of it :)
Only rebuttal to your blog- Invictus was not a mediocre film. (Since when do you say mediocre?!) It was a movie based on a true story and that you cannot relate to somehow. I thought that movie was awesome.

Ashok said...

Thanks and I hope you enjoy the "Hereafter". Yup, "Invictus" is mediocre in what I felt :-) I am not questioning the true story but as a film it did not work for me especially with what Eastwood is capable of.