Yesterday, I saw the movie Hereafter, directed by Clint Eastwood. In terms of pure entertainment, it succeeded. The acting and photography were excellent. Each actor performed beautifully, to the extent that that they didn’t seem like actors at all, but real people, and here is where the line lies between fantasy and documentary.
I expected a serious examination of how the Near Death Experience occurs, and how it affects those who experience it and those who study it. I expected a serious inquiry into the idea of personal consciousness beyond death, and I expected it from at least a quasi-scientific viewpoint, but no, I didn’t get that.
Instead, I got great entertainment, made better by the omission of even a single naked boob, and barely one “f” word stuck quickly between the words “hocus-pocus.” Additionally, no sadistic behavior or masochistic pathology afflicted any of the characters.
The visual highlight of the film occurs in the beginning, when character Marie Lelay gets swept into a tsunami. That scene alone mimics what really happens in a tsunami. We compare what we see in the film to tsunami footage seen a few years ago of Indonesia; we come away with a renewed appreciation for the breadth of such a catastrophe.
The bulk of the movie narrates the unrelated stories of three people who experience encounters with death. Eventually, the three connect and influence each other. None of the three stories is totally convincing, but since the acting is so good, one goes with the flow, so to speak.
Nothing new is on offer here. People have been fascinated with the death experience, life after death, the hereafter, and communicating with the dead, for eons. This movie deals with all of that, but in a generic way, almost a trite way, and certainly not from any religious viewpoint.
If this movie is nominated for awards, it will be for cinematography, and perhaps acting. See it for diversion, but not much else.