Wednesday, 2 February 2011
After 'Inviticus', Eastwood and Damon travel deeper here.
12A, 128 Minutes. Starring: Matt Damon, Cecile De France, Thierry Neuvic, Bryce Dallas Howard, Frankie McLaren . Director: Clint Eastwood. Screenplay: Peter Morgan
'Dirty Harry' returns to San Francisco by way of London, Paris and Indonesia. After an incredible South African journey in 'Inviticus', Clint Eastwood brings his travel companion and new favourite collaborator, Matt Damon along for the ride for 'Hereafter'. This film has nothing to do with globe-trotting however, it goes a little further than that. In this movie Matt Damon's character is a former famous psychic, who's sixth sense isn't to see dead people but to actually talk to them.
He feels this gift is a curse however and despite business proposals from his brother and pleading from just about everyone who knows of his power, he wants to start afresh. Still that can't stop him from connecting with people in all different ways. Damon isn't just the only one troubled however. We also follow the story of a journalist in Paris, (played by Cecile De France) when her life and perception of is thrown into turbulence after she survives the Indonesia tsunami. The other story we follow is about a young boy in London (played by Frankie McLaren) who loses his twin brother and is on the verge of losing his mother to social services.
Eastwood ties these stories together perfectly and again directs touchy subject matter with a touch of class. Again his subtly in drama speaks volumes in both it's discretion and it's message. Unlike most directors Clint does not ham it up, instead offering food for thought. He also produces some perfect parallels between love coming together in a cooking class and falling apart in fancy restaurants, in tender and dramatic scenes respectively. He walked the fine line of race perfectly in 'Gran Torino' and showed true sportsmanship in the uplifting 'Inviticus'. Now in 'Hereafter' Eastwood tackles the here-and-now, including a reconstruction of 2004's tsunami in Indonesia and the July 7th London Underground bombings. Still despite this being close to the bone, the genuine talent directs this with a certain dignity and taste. You know there is more of a message here then simply cashing in and this is yet another reason that the legendary actor has forged himself an iconic second career behind the camera.
Cecile De France and Frankie McLaren, despite being relative unknowns show they are worldwide talents with their memorable, moving performances in common. They bring the tender, touching, tearful moments that give this film it's heart. There is also great support throughout in the more minor roles from recognisable faces. If you didn't think actors from 'Twilight', 'Curb Your Enthusiasm', 'The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air' and 'Jerry Maguire' couldn't add to the drama then you'd be wrong.
Still it's the star of the show Matt Damon that really draws us in, taking the characters hands and the audiences hearts. With yet another humble, honest, genuine performance the all-round, nice guy's spirit shines through in this life after picture. The leading man of leading men yet again shows why he's Hollywood's most marketable star with another diverse, talented performance to add to his expanding, legendary filmography. His character may be down-trodden but his hope and care still shows as he recognises the dead but just wants to live. Damon plays the conflicted man as well as fellow 'Departed' star Dicaprio.
All in all, despite this not being Eastwood or Damon's best picture it still deserves the nomination. Besides these guys have so many good films in the books they can write what they want. With a tackling of a subject matter we could all find hard to grasp, the film delivers a powerful message. As Eastwood makes port back in San Francisco, he really captures the Californian cities old beauty, as it adds to the haunting, nostalgic, isolated tone of this movie. Eastwood also captures Paris and London perfectly. As he adds stamps to his passport, his direction abroad make it look like he's a native with little need of a guide. On this tour-de-force of a film Clint gives us a picture that will impact here and last in the after. TIM DAVID HARVEY.