In more than half a century of making movies, Clint Eastwood, 80, has sent many a varmint to his maker. Hereafter is the first time he's showed any curiosity about what lies on the other side. It's typical of Eastwood's mastery as a director that his approach to the topic is introspective, not inflammatory. Though Hereafter begins with a stunningly staged tsunami, it's the quiet moments that draw us in. Matt Damon excels as George Lonegan, a San Francisco construction worker who has turned his back on his psychic gifts. George doesn't want to talk to the dead. But even the babe (Bryce Dallas Howard) he meets in cooking class pushes him. So does Marcus, a London lad who wants to commune with his dead twin, Jason (both twins are played by George and Frankie McLaren). Then there's Paris TV journalist Marie LeLay (the excellent Cécile De France), whose near-death experience in the tsunami provides a link to George. Eastwood hits narrative bumps on this atypical spiritual journey, as does politics-obsessed screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon). No worries. It's exhilarating to watch these two talents explore new ground without bias or trendy cynicism. Hereafter, set to a resonant Eastwood score, truly is haunting.
From The Archives Issue 158: April 11, 1974