May as well make a thread for it, I suppose…

Caught this tonight. It was surprisingly decent. No heavy-handedness, or schmaltz. The subject matter was handled in an almost mundane fashion, without any mysticism or New Agey platitudes.

As always, I’m a sucker for Eastwood and company’s naturalistic lighting, and minimalistic sound design.

Plus, it has a decent cast, nice locales, and one of the most suggestive, erotically-charged, and yet sexless cooking scenes committed to film. Like if you took one of the Italian cooking sequences from The Godfather or GoodFellas, and presented the cooking not as meal prep but as foreplay.

Oh, yes, and a rather abrupt, contrived ending that neatly ties everything up but feels completely forced.

I’m glad I saw it (bear in mind that I loved Gran Torino), but I can’t help but thing it would have been far better if they’d skipped the obligatory, formulaic, conventional, intersecting ending, and just let the characters proceed to their own ends.

There is a certain point where the movie stops being good and becomes mediocre, and the script is to blame. Up to that point, the movie itself was an excellent piece of cinematography, even if as a story it had some weaknesses, particularly with the French anchorwoman’s storyline.

That particular thread felt underdeveloped, even if it was aptly carried out. Matt Damon’s character, his experiences, reticence and conflict was presented masterfully in every single aspect throughout every single scene. Even the kid’s storyline was good in its own way, although it lacked the strength of Matt Damon’s character.

When all of them meet, then the movie becomes a half-baked romantic comedy.

At least it doesn’t try to answer any metaphysical questions, which is a point it its favor.

In all it’s a good movie, up to a point.

It’s a long road to nowhere. As Tankero mentioned it has promise during the first half, but the payoff is dull and predictable. Much like death itself the ending is sudden, messy and disappointing.

As a fan of this subject matter, and of Clint Eastwood movies, of the cast…

I wish I had walked out. Far and away the worst movie I’ve sat through in years. Do yourself a favor and don’t see this film. Don’t rent it, don’t watch it for free on cable. It’s that bad.

^I don’t know what could have caused this guy to hate the movie so much.

The film is fine, and even successful at playing with the viewer’s emotions at times. Two of the three protagonists have decent stories behind them. But there’s nothing great or unique about the film, and it’s especially disappointing coming from Eastwood. Easily his worst in many years.

From the reviews, I get the impression it’s the sort of movie that isn’t interesting if you don’t believe in some sort of afterlife. I understand that though it’s not explicitly religious, it takes the idea of life after death pretty seriously, and not in a speculative way. I had planned on avoiding it, because while I enjoy a “what if?” story like “The Dead Zone,” I’m not really all that interested in some fuzzy headed mystical exploration of the subject.

I can’t believe Peter Morgan wrote this. As I watched Hereafter I felt myself vacillating between feeling it was merely a mediocre Dead Zone ripoff to seeing it as utterly despicable. You’re going to use the tsunami as an inciting incident for this story? Really? Why? Seriously, why? Oh, I know. Because you want to show a bunch of large-scale destruction you can use as a trailer hook. Given the [supposed] subject matter, there is so much to explore if you invoke a disaster like that. But no, these filmmakers aren’t interested in that. They just want to plumb it for easy exploitation of visuals. I hated that opening so much, and it really got me off on the wrong foot in watching this film.

Maybe the more recent earthquake and ensuing tsunami in Japan, with the images and video footage I’ve seen from that, soured me as well. I don’t know. I can’t blame Eastwood for that contributing to spoil his film for me. I just think there’s no reason to open the film in this way given what’s done with it. It’s rank exploitation. If you want to see a film that seeks to understand the actual horror of that disaster, rent Vinyan. Warning…not an easy film.

Back to Hereafter. There’s a couple of things that work. I’ll always go along with Matt Damon, but even he’s not going to be able to do much if you keep forcing him to say things like “It’s not a gift Billy, it’s a curse.” He does what he can with looking meaningfully out of windows (enough of that shot up at him looking out the window, Eastwood…please) and having to bounce lines off of a Jay Mohr who looks like he’s been attacked by a swarm of bees, but even he can only do so much.

The feeding/tasting scene in the cooking class is hot, I suppose. But both the class and the later book signing are such dopey versions of those things that I just found myself continually rolling my eyes. And the hat/subway thing made me want to punch Clint Eastwood in the neck. The reveal about the hat does help to ameliorate this slightly. But only slightly.

Also, character reveal via overheard answering machine message…REALLY? That’s so fucking lazy.

Again, I cannot believe this is a Peter Morgan script.


“Maybe it’s better to hold stuff back.”

Tankero summed it up pretty neatly for me I think. What is most impressive about the movie is the way in which not much is actually said about “it” and how the movie avoids being about “it” even though the title of the movie is what it is. That said, it does take it’s sweet time with the inevitable, bringing the 3 protagonists together.

Not the movie i was expecting but overall not a disappointment either.