Posts Tagged ‘hereafter’

Hereafter, a.k.a. “Les” Miserable

April 22, 2011

by Thomas M. Pender

I like Matt Damon.  I really do.  I enjoyed him in lighter dramatic fare, such as Good Will Hunting, heavier drama like Saving Private Ryan, and even silly things like Dogma and the infamous duet with Sarah Silverman on Jimmy Kimmel’s show (which I can’t tell you the name of!).  He’s a talented guy.

Yet, as Hollywood history has proven again and again, even the best actor cannot carry a film if the film is unwatchable.  The script, director, producer . . . many components play their parts in making a movie, from concept to finished reel.  Personally, on this project it’s the script that has me stumped.  Who read this and thought it would be well received by an American audience?

To begin with – and I’ll try not to exaggerate – half of the script is in French.  I did not wish to see a foreign film when I rented Hereafter.  Foreign films give me headaches.  You miss the whole show whilst reading subtitles at everyone’s waistline.  Here, interspersed with Damon’s scenes, are scenes of a woman in France and twin boys in England.  Not until you are a full 90 minutes into the 120-minute show do any of these people prove they have anything whatsoever to do with each other.  For 90 minutes, you feel like you’re watching three movies with a spouse who won’t let go of the remote control!  When they do finally interact, it’s so anticlimactic you’ll wish you could demand your money back from the Redbox.

Damon himself is the only box office draw, and it seems a good waste of the producers’ money, since they don’t let him act.  Unless “catatonic” and “unaffected” can be viewed as emotions that are difficult to fake, any box of corn flakes could have acted this part, at a mere fraction of the cost.

I’m surprised that I didn’t eject this one 45 minutes in.  If you’ve ever struggled through a movie, swearing to yourself that there must be some reason people made it and then paid to see it, you’ll understand what it’s like to watch Hereafter.  Hopefully, that will save you some time and money.