My name is Elliott Miller, and I go to Cardinal Newman High School. I like it there, but I’m really starting to get tired of collared shirts. My favorite things to do are to write both reviews (which I have been writing for a year or so) and creative stories, play video games, watch movies, and talk to friends. My dream job would be something in writing or filmmaking, but I’d be lying if I said I knew for sure. My favorite musical artists are Johnny Cash, Muse, and Hans Zimmer. My favorite movies would take an hour to read, but a few of them are “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “American Beauty,” “Children of Men,” and “Inception.”
Directed By: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Matt Damon, Bryce Dallas Howard
Runtime: 129 minutes
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including disturbing disaster and accident images, and for brief strong language.
GUEST REVIEW BY ELLIOTT MILLER
Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter” has been marketed as a supernatural thriller along the lines of “The Sixth Sense,” and to put a long story short, it isn’t anything like any film about the afterlife you’ve seen in recent years. It’s slow, thoughtful, and profound, replacing violence and gore with good old-fashioned dialogue and character development. It’s also all the better for that.
The film opens up with a French reporter named Marie (played by Cecile de France of “High Tension”) and her husband on vacation in Indonesia when the 2007 tsunami hits. She is downtown when she sees the wall of water rushing towards her, and is overtaken, almost drowning before being rescued. When she’s almost gone, dying in the water, she catches a glimpse of what she believes is the afterlife. The movie proceeds to follow her story of coping with her trauma and exploring what she saw, along with the story of a psychic living in San Francisco (played by Matt Damon) and the struggle of a young boy whose brother is killed.
Matt Damon’s George Lonegan is the thematic center of the film, and is consequently the person that is debatably responsible for the three stories intertwining in the end. He struggles with his abilities to contact the dead, and it has cost him his relationships with most everyone in his life. He doesn’t want the gift, or curse, as he puts it.
The young boy whose brother is killed is wonderfully played by newcomer Frankie McLauren and his loneliness after the loss of his brother is wonderfully restrained yet emotionally resonant. Eastwood is a master of demonstrating emotion through character behavior rather than utilizing frank dialogue.
The film is outstanding and moving on several levels, asking questions about why we as human beings cope with death in our own lives, and nearly ceases to be about the afterlife itself. It isn’t fast-paced, and there’s no action or violence to keep less patient viewers in the experience, but it remains another thoughtful masterwork from Clint Eastwood, who is becoming one of my personal favorite filmmakers. “Hereafter” is one of the most touching movies of the year. It is also one of two movies in 2010 (the other being “Inception”) that I have awarded a four-star rating.
****(out of four)
Thanks, Elliott. Below viewers can find a trailer to “Hereafter” and a link to Cardinal Newman’s online magazine, which includes more of Elliott’s reviews.