PASS THE POPCORN: That’ll do, Eastwood

by Staff

Bryce Dallas Howard and Matt Damon channel the dead in the newest picture from Clint Eastwood. Courtesy of Warner Bros

Morgan Denno, Staff Writer

Clint Eastwood’s latest movie “Hereafter” weaves three seemingly unrelated story threads into a neat knot at the end. “Hereafter” marks Eastwood’s 31st directing turn and his sixth film in the last five years.

Similar to his previous movies, Eastwood undertakes a tough theme in the film, questioning the existence of the afterlife. Rather than taking a firm stance, Eastwood backs away from the confrontation, remaining unbiased and leaving viewers to their own beliefs about death.

George (Matt Damon) is a quiet, jittery man living in San Francisco who is trying to eradicate himself from his previous job as a well-known psychic. Unable to shake his visions when he gets close to others, he leads a solitary life until he meets Melanie (Bryce Dallas Howard) in a cooking class.

Marie (Cecile De France) is an ambitious journalist from Paris who has a near-death experience in a tsunami while on vacation. Unable to explain her visions to anyone, she retreats from her fast-paced professional life and seeks refuge by writing her experiences in a book.

Marcus (Frankie and George McLaren) is more timid and submissive than his twin brother Jason (Frankie and George McLaren), leaving assertive Jason to be the head of their London household and to take care of their alcoholic mother.  When Jason is suddenly killed in a car accident, Marcus is left to fend for himself while his mother is in rehab and he’s placed in a foster home.

Despite the very serious theme and storyline, the movie has several unexpected funny moments (thanks to the great comedic timing of the actors), and are a welcome departure from the overall serious tone. Having worked with Damon on “Invictus” last year, both Eastwood and Damon were eager to work together again and it shows through their captivating acting performances.

However, with all the stories going on, the plot can be confusing. While some scenes feel rushed, others seem dragged out and a few scenes audiences might have wanted to see are skipped through. Though each character wavers from the plot at times, the story is intriguing and different. The stories seem to have no correlation until the very end, when the three characters are brought together in order to help one another.

The story begs the question: What happens to people when they die? Do they just cease to exist?  Is there an afterlife? “Hereafter” allows viewers to keep their beliefs without trying to impose a new idea.

Movie: Hereafter

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Release Date: Oct. 22

Grade: B-

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