Thank you. Thank you, Clint Eastwood. Thank you for this Friday night. After a disappointingly average custom burger at Ballard's The Counter, I went and saw your new movie Hereafter. It was one of the best movies I've seen all year. I'm sorry, I mean it's one of the most boring, plot-less and pointless movies I've seen all year.
Hereafter is three character-driven stories rolled into one, each as dreadfully dull as the next. The slightly more interesting story is that of a former psychic (Matt Damon) who's attempting to escape his past but just can't seem to do it. Another focuses on a woman (Cecile De France) who has a near-death experience during a tsunami. A third follows a young boy (played by Frankie and George McLaren) whose twin brother was recently killed in a car accident.
I've been a fan of Eastwood the director for quite some time, ever since Mystic River. Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima and Gran Torino are other recent favorites. But Eastwood's been known to misfire - Flags of Our Fathers was a disappointment and Changeling fell victim to Eastwood's directorial style. But Hereafter is Eastwood's first out-and-out disaster, a plodding, cheesy misfire.
As is often the case with movies containing several parallel storylines, Hereafter lacks the character development necessary to overcome its limited plot. The movie relies so heavily on its characters and yet Damon's is the only one that feels fleshed out completely. France's story arc is an utter waste of time, even though she gets to participate in the film's massive tsunami sequence (which suffers from out-of-date visual effects). The McLaren boys' arc is more interesting, but still isn't very compelling. Unfortunately, all three stories compete with each other for screen time, the result a shoddy disappointment.
The biggest problem with Hereafter, though, is that it's simply boring. And by boring, I mean dreadfully, painfully, excruciatingly boring.
Hereafter may be a Clint Eastwood movie, but that alone won't be enough to garner awards attention. The movie is not good and has few redeeming qualities.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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