½*/**** Image A Sound A Extras C+
starring Matt Damon, Cécile De France, Jay Mohr, Bryce Dallas Howard
screenplay by Peter Morgan
directed by Clint Eastwood
by Ian Pugh It's an age-old problem: how do you make a movie (or write a book, or stage a play) about the broad and ultimately philosophical subject of death? Not like this, that's for sure. Looking and feeling like it was shot from inside an aquarium, Clint Eastwood's Hereafter is a failure of staggering proportions. Three stories intertwine to form a bland whole: George (Matt Damon) is an honest-to-gosh psychic who's trying and failing to stay out of the racket; Marie (Cécile De France) is a French TV presenter who recalls visions of the afterlife after being caught in the Indian Ocean tsunami; and Marcus (Frankie McLaren) is a young lad who seeks answers when his twin brother dies in a traffic accident. Rest assured their paths will cross in profoundly obvious ways as they wrap their heads around the very concept of death and what comes next. I'm certainly not the first person to compare Hereafter to Babel, but Eastwood offers little alternative. Hereafter approaches the various perceptions of death in the same way that Alejandro González Iñárritu approached "life," and the end result is equally bloated and condescending.