Review: Hereafter (2010)

Hereafter (dir. Clint Eastwood, 2010) – Three lives intersect, as they find connections with death in different ways.

Verdict

An intriguing study of death and the afterlife, Hereafter loses its way in trying to find meaning to them.

2/5

Review

A psychic retired from speaking with the dead, a journalist who narrowly escaped death, and a schoolboy recovering from loss – three individuals find their lives intertwined through their connections with the afterlife.

Starting with a harrowing portrayal of tsunami disaster, Hereafter may be remembered for its beginning. Sadly, it may not be for much else.

Meandering from genre to genre, Clint Eastwood’s latest movie seems undecided what it wants to be. Introducing sporadic thoughts about mortality, the drama begins with great potential in exploring the subject of the afterlife. But what slight hope quickly diminishes, as a supernatural drama takes its place.

Though an endless stream of questions prove intriguing, there remains too many open windows and the purpose easily escapes. The abrupt ending, involving surprising romantic undertones, puts any hope of answers to naught. Death and the afterlife feel like undermined subplots, rather than the main themes of the film as one might expect.

Disappointment is an understatement, with Peter Morgan’s writing and Clint Eastwood’s directing credits splashed across the screen. While the cinematography is doubtlessly beautiful, the beauty stays on the outside and never quite fills the hollow story itself. An unfocused script gradually unfolds into pretentious, forgettable pointlessness.

On the acting front, twins Frankie and George McLaren lack the emotional capability to match that of Matt Damon and the remaining cast. Interest fades on and off, as the three stories feel imbalanced in weight and credibility.

Interesting questions are raised on death and the speculated beyond, but upon the revelation of some bizarre twists in the plot, Hereafter ends too quickly before any meaning and purpose is found.

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