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Review: Hereafter

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Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard, Cécile De France, Thierry Neuvic, Jessica Griffiths

The One With Hereafter

I’ve had my fair share of WTF moments in the cinema. Some in 2011. My favorite was a guy sneaking six bottled beers in his pockets, side and rear, then putting them on the floor… only to kick them all over. I wish I were him.

Anyway, Clint Eastwood. What a Legend. Much like other Legends of the screen, he’s been in, and directed, an awful lot of rubbish.

Absolute Power is no Murder at 1600, for example. The Eiger Sanction is no Cliffhanger. I could go on, but you would throw Dirty Harry at me. (Hopefully not literally). Or Unforgiven. Or In The Line Of Fire.

In fact, you could keep going all night, until I’m sat there nodding along. Because I wouldn’t disagree.

Hereafter is a new breed, though. Almost a bastard child of both sides of Clint Eastwood. There are bits that are brilliant. Then, there are bits that make you wish you could gouge your own eyes out, only to get them back later. So you can watch the 1991 classic The Rookie, when you get home.

Hereafter is about three stories intertwining, all with a supernatural element.

Read the rest of the review after the break.

If that were that, it would be my perfect film. But then things go wrong. The poster, for a start. Bizarre. (Don’t worry, this isn’t where I freak out, and attack Clint for awful use of credits over the start of the film – although they were bland, now you/I mention it).

Matt Damon has a gift. If he touches you, he can talk to spirits that are trying to contact you. It’s like Ghost, from Whoopi Goldberg’s perspective. With out the loudness. Or bad hair. Or over acting.

And that’s the problem. This film is crying out for over acting.

Don’t get me started on the twins.

Matt Damon’s new film, The Adjustment Bureau was advertised before, and in between the bits where I was awake and asleep, I kept thinking of that instead. That looks like it could be brilliant.

Here? Matt Damon is ticking the box on his CV that says, “Work with Clint Eastwood. Hollywood Legend*”.

Except there’s a problem. He didn’t read the little asterix. So, instead of starring in a film where he can sit back and say, “how do you like them apples?”, he’s likely to cringe at the acting going on around him.

You see, Damon is OK. There is nothing to challenge him, here. His relationship with Bryce Dallas Howard (FIT!), was the highlight of the movie for me. As a back handed compliment I really liked that it didn’t go where I thought it was going to go. Then, on the other hand, that decision ruined the rest of the film for me.

Don’t get me started on the twins.

Part of what had attracted me to Hereafter apart from the Damon/Eastwood love in, was the Oscar nom for special effects. Well, in my gentlemens agreement with Phil, I’m allowed one swearword per review, so I don’t say this lightly… Best Special Effects – Hereafter… Hey, Hollywood, you can literally FUCK yourself in the face!

Has the Academy got to the point that Clint gets an Oscar nom for his films no matter what?

Next you’ll be telling me Bloodworks 2 is nominated for best script.

I feel dizzy. Sick.

The opening scene, on a real life event you may well recognize is competent. The camera bobbing in and out of the water was interesting enough, but I sort of felt like I was on a fairground ride. That may be why people have had issues with the use of real events in the movie.

7/7? Well, how it fits into the film is so unnecessary it’s untrue. I suppose it’s “tastefully” done, if you can call it that. But if there was a point to it, I missed it. In fact that scene sums up everything that is wrong with Hereafter.

When one of the twins (Don’t get me started on the twins) finally gets to Matt Damon, and gets his palms read, (or whatever), there was an intriguing idea. Damon tells the twin that the other twin used his immortal twin powers to knock the cap off his head, thus saving his twin life, although he’ll never save his twin life again – he’s too busy in the after life being all things.

That idea had me intrigued. But it completely passes us by.

What a great idea. That people are watching over us, doing things like that.

Instead, Clint is more interested in Derek Jacobi doing a read of Charles Dickens. (I know my reviews are flippant, and tongue in cheek, but incredibly, that last sentence wasn’t a lie).

When Clint ties everything up, I was a relieved man. Not because it was the worst film I’ve ever seen. Not because I could go and stare at my Bryce Dallas poster for a few hours before Mrs T came home. No. It was because I could go back home. And in the comfort of my own home, watch The Bridges Of Madison County.

*FFS, Matt, remember to read the script. Clint is capable of making films that make you want to gouge your own eyes out, if only to put them back in to watch Every Which Way But Loose.

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