Critics Split on Eastwood's Hereafter

One person's 'enthralling' is another person's boring
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2010 1:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon … what’s not to like about Hereafter? But not all the critics are overly impressed with this spiritual film that touches on the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2005 London subway bombings:

  • “The mostly mesmerizing but finally flawed film” mostly “plays like a smart and stylish thriller,” writes Michael O'Sullivan in the Washington Post. But the promise of three separate and “artfully-woven” plotlines coming together for “a collision—or at least a fusion,” is never realized. “The big payoff fizzles.”
  • Mick LaSalle begs to differ: This is one of Eastwood’s best, he writes in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Every shot communicates something precise, whether it's plot detail or a thought or emotion.” The result is a “sympathetic and all-encompassing understanding of the pain and grandeur of life on earth.”

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  • In the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert concurs: The “enthralling” film “considers the idea of an afterlife with tenderness, beauty and a gentle tact.” Though the subject matter “lends itself to sensation and psychic baloney … this is a film for intelligent people who are naturally curious about what happens when the shutters close.”
  • Another in the thumb's down camp: It tackles big topics "without having anything to say,” writes Kyle Smith in the New York Post. “The movie drags, yet it feels like it's missing an hour. It features three characters on three continents who barely interact with one another. And after 130 minutes, it stops without concluding.”
Eastwood recently promoted the film, but ended up talking about his disagreements with President Obama. Watch that interview here.
(Read more Hereafter stories.)

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