Hereafter (2010)

(Netflix Streaming, February 2017) Clint Eastwood isn’t a director associated with the supernatural, but with Hereafter he takes on a multi-strand story about communicating with the dead. Featuring an ensemble cast, this is a movie that goes around the world, asking questions and them wrapping up abruptly. There are quite a few things to like about it—the performances from actors such as Matt Damon as a blue-collar worker with an unwanted gift; Cecile de France as a woman whose life changes after a near-death experience; and the McLaren brothers as kids surviving a terrible childhood. Bryce Dallas Howard also shows up in a short but striking role. The way those stories, in four different countries, come to climax is satisfying, but the small-scale ending of the film is almost surprising, leaving plenty of questions unanswered. The opening sequence, depicting a tsunami in graphic detail, is unusually far more intense than the ending. It’s intriguing, satisfying in small moments, but not exceptionally fulfilling in total. The sum of the good moments doesn’t quite add up to a grand film and the result feels curiously muted. Too bad; at least it delivers small doses of interest.

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