CÚcile De France
All three of these individuals, although they come from different backgrounds, are experiencing something supernatural, something beyond life as they try to cope with death.
It is important to keep that fact in mind when debating whether or not Hereafter is a good movie, it definitely is not something that everyone is going to like, but it is a movie that will stick with you for a while afterwards. This is not a sensationalized depiction of the afterlife, although there is a pretty damn explosive beginning (more on that in a bit) but a seriously understated drama about people in extraordinary circumstances deal with death. It has some amazing performances, truly one of Matt Damon's best, and a masterful hand weaving the story together in Eastwood.
Let's take a brief moment to talk about the beginning of the film to get it out of the way. The first story is that of the French reporter, played by CÚcile De France, who is on a tropical vacation when tsunami strikes wiping out hundreds of thousands. It is powerful sequence on it's own, but after the recent tragedy in Japan it is completely awe inspiring and haunting. It is hard not to let the beginning of Hereafter overshadow the rest of the film because of this tragic coincidence but tsunami is just an arbitrary plot device and it is what happens after that this film should be known for.
What should be taken away from Hereafter are some amazingly conflicted performances. As previously stated Matt Damon gives one of his best, albeit understated, performances of his career as a psychic trying to lead a normal life. His struggle is mirrored by the French actress CÚcile De France role of a reporter that just survived a near death experience and is trying to cope with what she experienced. But the scene stealer, and the most heartbreaking performance, is that of twin brothers Frankie and George McLaren. What they bring to the table is incredible, we all have experienced the loss of life and some of us from a very early age and their attempts to come to terms with mortality and what happens after death is a struggle every single one of us has faced. Three tortured souls seem to be going absolutely no where but down, and the first two-thirds of the film are definitely gloomy but there is a redemption toward the end. The plot may twist and turn, and a lot of what happens is just to be taken for granted (the psychic powers are barely explained) but it is these characters and performances that solidify Hereafter as a great film.
One of the most brilliant aspects of Hereafter is how lost the characters are and we are right along with them. Clint Eastwood proves again he isn't afraid of taking risks and at his core he is more than a bit of an auteur that uses film to raise those who watch it to a higher consciousness and awareness. So it is fitting that in a film about the great unknown it raises more questions than answers, and I have always felt that any movie that gets you thinking is a good movie and Hereafter is definitely a thinker.
The Eastwood Factor: Extended Edition (129-Minutes): Get ready for what may be the highlight of this Blu-ray release, it definitely made my night, with a feature lengthed documentary about the legendary career of Clint Eastwood narrated by - Are you ready? - Morgan Freeman! This in depth documentary covers Clint's illustrious career from TV extra turned cinematic badass turned award winning director. It includes various interviews, including the man himself, and pays tributes to one of the greatest men ever to be both in front and behind the camera. Plus, Morgan Freeman's voice.