George (Matt Damon) is a blue-collar American with a special connection to the afterlife dating from his childhood. French journalist Marie (Cécile de France) has a near-death experience that shakes her reality. And when London schoolboy Marcus (Frankie and George McLaren) loses the person closest to him, he desperately needs answers. Each seeking the truth, their lives will intersect, forever changed by what they believe might – or must – exist in the hereafter.
You have to give it to Clint Eastwood. What would you think you’d be doing at the age of 80? Probably enjoying life after retirement, if (touch wood) you haven’t passed on. At the ripe old age of 80, Eastwood is still directing films (and occasionally producing, acting and composing as well), how’s that for a fulfilling life.
Younger audiences may probably know Eastwood for recent movies like the 2006 World War II double bill Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, Changeling (2008) and Gran Torino (2008). The award winning filmmaker is also known for taking on lead roles for some of his movies. How can you not respect a man like that?
In this 2010 film, he ropes in Matt Damon from Invictus (2009) to play a man who is able to communicate with the dead. His tale is intertwined with two other separate stories about death, one involving a French television journalist who had a near death experience during the 2004 tsunami, and a British boy who wants to get in touch with his dead brother.
Those familiar with the veteran’s works will not be taken aback by the 129 minute film’s unrushed and calm pacing. It does not rush into things, and unhurriedly develops its plot. Considering that this the central theme of this film is about death, Eastwood manages to get viewers acquainted with the central characters of the stories, but does not bombard his audiences with too much overbearing details that it insults their intelligence. The concept of afterlife is approached with Eastwood’s signature gentleness, and it works well here because it gives the film a surreal etherealness. One can only imagine that in the hands of a less able director, the result may be a clichéd dread.
Besides Peter Morgan’s (The Queen. Frost/ Nixon) well written screenplay, the film also works because of Tom Stern’s (Million Dollar Baby, Things We Lost in the Fire) appealing cinematography. Eastwood composed the delicate music score himself, while the technical wizards recreated the terrifying tsunami waves, earning the film an Academy Award nomination for best visual effects.
The film is engaging also because of its solid casting. Damon delivers an affecting performance as a reluctant psychic who discovers his ability to heal grieving individuals. French actress Cecile de France takes on the role of the television journalist with a much needed gusto and will power, wile twins Frankie and George McLaren play twin brothers who get separated by an unfortunate accident. Together with the supporting cast which includes Bryce Dallas Howard, Jay Mohr and Lyndsey Marshal, the ensemble captures your heart and manages to leave you thinking what significance life after death has on the living.
The Code 3 DVD includes three featurettes (sadly, no commentaries). Tsunami! Recreating a Disaster is a six odd minute clip which takes you behind the scenes of how this Oscar nominated sequence was shot. Hereafter’s Locations – Casting the Silent Characters is a three minute clip which sheds light on Eastwood’s choices for practical locations. The Eastwood Experience rounds up the platter with a four minute clip where the cast and crew talk about working with the highly esteemed Eastwood on this film.
The movie’s visual transfer is clear and pristine, and you can watch the feature in either English, Portuguese, Spanish or Thai.
DVD RATING :
Review by John Li
Posted on 29 May 2011