In an era in which Hollywood can at times be ruled by bohemian youth movements which are often noninclusive of mature melodrama, there is less room for difficult subjects with a message in modern cinema. Yet Hereafter breaks through that timeless universal ceiling with a story that involves us all in a quest for answers to the afterlife, how we get there, where it exists and why academic authorities guard against new age revelations in the media.
The plot is of an international twist concerning a global trio of interwoven stories. A jaded French anchor reporter (Cecile De France) is fed up with news as usual after a near death experience in a tsunami, a poverty stricken twin brother (Frankie McLaren) in the UK is obsessed with the loss of his older half (George McLaren) in a traffic accident and a reluctant US psychic (Matt Damon) is drawn to their resolution while trying to run away and escape his gift.
There is a tone and temperament to this movie that invites us in on the majesty of larger than life classic movie making. If death is the star and the life after is its mistress, the spirit of this tale is fearless. The awe-striking power of nature is reflected in the tsunami, life’s unpredictable lightness of being in the fate of the twin brothers and the psychic’s curse of knowledge of it all is a metaphor for the acceptance of secret hidden reality for collective benefit.
It is no mere coincidence that a film with such depth of feeling for the human condition and the mysteries therein was directed by a humble Hollywood giant whose reputation as a master film maker is outdistancing his legacy as an actor in the September of his years. The could make Eastwood the go-to lensman for Spielbergian blockbusters with heart and soul inasmuch as Peter Morgan, with an Oscar worthy screenplay, is the art royal of high concept.
Spoiler alert. There are cryptic messages in this film that hint at what’s going on in the world socially, politically and economically. For that reason, this is sure to see its share of elite naysayers unable to deal with films about truth and consequences. When taken into context with the mortality subject matter, their theatrical statement renders the show beyond the scope of awards, criticism or pop culture spin. For fans of life, death was never such an adventure.