Invictus director Clint Eastwood and star Matt Damon re-team in the new drama, Hereafter. The film tells separate parallel stories about three individuals greatly affected by struggles with mortality -- and their beliefs in the afterlife. Damon plays American factory worker George, who is able to communicate with the dead, but finds it a curse rather than a gift. In another story, Cécile de France plays French television journalist Marie, who is haunted by her near-death experience after barely surviving the 2004 tsunami. Finally, newcomers Frankie and George McLaren play Marcus, a London boy who loses the person closest to him -- leaving him extremely lonely and longing for answers. As has been done in previous films in this style (yep, no longer original), all three stories and characters eventually converge.
The film has an extremely powerful opening showcasing Marie's survival. The special effects will pull you right into that horrific tsunami -- and the story. However, from that point on, the pacing of the film slows down significantly -- and at times, nearly stalls. And although it has a thought-provoking premise, and all three leads deliver strong performances, the conclusion seems a bit hokey and a tad unsatisfying. Still, Eastwood is a master director and the film is beautifully shot. Also stars the radiant Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village) and the miscast Jay Mohr (better suited for comedies). Written by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon), with original music by Eastwood. It's not as strong as Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby or Gran Torino, but still worth seeing. [Rated PG-13; opens nationwide today]
- Conviction opens wider today. Click here to read my review -- and to see an interview with star Sam Rockwell and director Tony Goldwyn.
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