Movie review: "Hereafter"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The release of a Clint Eastwood movie with early Oscar buzz is almost an annual event at this point, as he's joined the list of directors important enough for every project to be Oscar bait.

If his latest film, the middling life-and-death drama "Hereafter," is any indication, it's going to be a weak season.

It tells three parallel tales related to mortality. George Lonegan (Matt Damon) is a former professional psychic who can actually communicate with the dead. Weary of this dilemma, he now bides his time in a simple, blue-collar life.

Marie LeLay (Cecile De France) is a French journalist who survives a near-death experience in a tsunami. Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George McLaren) are British twins who suffer a tragedy while trying to cover for an alcoholic mother.

The opening tsunami scene marks new visual heights for an Eastwood film (and may explain Steven Spielberg's involvement as executive producer). Things wash up after that.

I found surprisingly little empathy with any of the characters, and their separate storylines put a lot of pressure on the inevitable resolution when everyone's lives intersect.

When the intersection came, I found it to be a bore.

The real shame is there's some true talent here. Damon comes off as a Will Hunting who sees dead people. Bryce Dallas Howard pops up but is underutilized.

I'm sure some will find this mumbo-jumbo thought-provoking. I found it to be nap-provoking.


Opens Friday

2.5 stars out of 4