Friday 28 January 2011

"Hereafter" (Metro 28/01/11)

Hereafter (12A) 124 mins *

With eleven directorial credits to his name since the millennium, there’s no denying Clint Eastwood’s industry. It’s his eye for a script that’s going: here, Eastwood takes on a bottom-drawer effort by The Queen’s Peter Morgan that might best have been left for ITV1’s prime-time drama commissioners. The somewhat unfeasible set-up is Ghost meets 21 Grams, presenting us with a trio of individuals dealing with death in their own way. In Paris, Cécile de France is the TV presenter haunted by flashbacks to the Asian tsunami that left her with a glimpse of the great beyond; in London, a young boy (George McLaren) sees his twin killed in a road traffic accident; while in San Francisco, Matt Damon is the blue-collar worker troubled by his psychic abilities.

We’re heading towards a communion of sorts, yet Hereafter takes an eternity to get there, with a lot of extraneous rubbish en route. Damon’s night-school romance with Bryce Dallas Howard goes nowhere; De France wanders ineffectually around picturesque Swiss euthanasia clinics; there’s a bizarre cameo from Derek Jacobi as himself; and, worst of all, a nagging sense that real-world tragedies – including a weird misappropriation of the 7/7 bombings – have been shoehorned in to lend dramatic impetus to a flimsy and vapid premise. A personal project for an ageing filmmaker wondering what lies ahead for him? Maybe, but Clint’s unflashy professionalism has rarely seemed duller, or more open to question – it’s less a film than an extended senior moment.

Hereafter opens in cinemas nationwide today.

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