We’re accustomed to fast-paced movies. Director Clint Eastwood knows this, but he obviously thinks we all should slow down.
“Hereafter” will require a conscious act of will from moviegoers to adjust to the film’s rhythms.
Eastwood is in no hurry as he presents three interlocking stories that deal with death and what comes after.
George (Matt Damon) is a psychic, and he’s the real deal. When he touches someone, he’s immediately in contact with that person’s deceased loved ones.
He used to make money at it, but the toll of knowing too much about the dead cut him off from human contact. In retirement, he’s trying to be an average Joe.
During a holiday, Marie (Cécile De France) gets swept away in a tsunami. She dies and has a profound experience. The effects of which drastically change her life when she’s resuscitated.
Our third story takes place in London. It’s about a kid named Marcus, who becomes fascinated by death when his twin brother, Jason, is killed. According to the credits, Frankie and George McLaren switch back and forth to play both Marcus and Jason.
These three lives will intersect, but Eastwood takes his time in getting there. The pacing of “Hereafter” reminds me of the foreign movies I sometimes watch late at night on the Sundance Channel. Since Marie is French, parts of the movie have subtitles.
The odd thing about “Hereafter” and Peter Morgan’s script is most of the exciting things take place in the beginning of the story.
In another movie, the tsunami, which is rendered on the screen in terrifying scale and detail, would be something for the story to work toward.
Here, it’s a catalyst to get things started. By contrast, the ending, while satisfying, is understated.
Who am I to criticize Eastwood? But he would’ve been better served by a more forceful editor, who could’ve sped things up a little bit. There are scenes in “Hereafter” that do nothing but take up screen time without teaching us anything about the characters.
For the most part, I adjusted to Eastwood’s sense of time, slipped into the story and cared about the characters’ lives.
I give “Hereafter” a B minus.
It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.
Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.
Kelli Karlson with Wizard 106.7 gives “Hereafter” a D. “It’s not the feel-good movie I was hoping for. Go see ‘Secretariat.”
M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal