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Hereafter

Year: 2010
Production Co: Amblin Entertainment
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Clint Eastwood
Producer: Clint Eastwood/Kathleen Kennedy/Steven Spielberg
Writer: Peter Morgan
Cast: Matt Damon, Cécile De France, Jay Mohr, Richard Kind

I can’t really say that as Clint’s aged his films have slowed down with him, much as it’s tempting to after the pace of this film versus Every Which Way But Loose or Where Eagles Dare (neither of which he was responsible for). But it’s a nice theory considering his physical age if this long, slow-moving, dour, dreary effort is anything to go by.

The whole film of three intertwined stories dealing with life after death could have been told in half an hour if the interminable pacing had been trimmed off. Maybe Clint was going for sensual – he actually manages limp and half dead. A pasty, miserable looking Matt Damon schleps through his third as a reluctant psychic who’s given up giving readings for people and is determined to live a normal life.

Cécile De France has a little more spark as the French reporter consumed with the idea of contacting the dead after her own near-death experience. She also gives the only thrilling sequence its centrepiece, as the Boxing Day 2004 tsunamis roar ashore at her Asian holiday resort town and sweeps her and countless victims down streets clogged with floating cars and rubbish. As she follows her new passion, colleagues and her looming stardom as a political memoirist start to evaporate before her eyes.

Continuing the tradition of finding the worst child actors he can find, Clint casts twin brothers, one as the survivor after his brother’s been hit by a car and he becomes convinced he can contact him in death.

The loosest of threads tie the three stories together at the end, but until then they’re little more than three episodes of a TV show dealing with the afterlife.

The tsunami sequence is technically fantastic and very affecting, and the script anchors the events nicely to real life (the 2005 London bombings also play a part). But it all takes so long to unfold and is so devoid of colour – both literally and figuratively – it will nearly put you to sleep while you get there.

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