What do you hope to do when you're 80-years-old? ¬†I think most of us would be happy just being alive. ¬†Oscar-winning Director Clint Eastwood is 80 and seems to be getting younger and younger with each new movie he does. ¬†I was never really a big fan of Eastwood as an actor. ¬†Dirty Harry movies never did much for me. ¬†As a director, however, he's given us some of the best films of the last decade. ¬†I thought Million Dollar Baby and Flags of Our Fathers were incredible and powerful. ¬†But (and I know many disagree with me) he also gave us complete duds like Gran Torino and Invictus. ¬†Hereafter is his first dive into the paranormal but it's not scary at all. ¬†This could be a sequel to The Sixth Sense and Matt Damon is the little kid all grown up. ¬†He's the reluctant psychic that can commune with the dead. ¬†He has a gift but doesn't want to use it because it's too hurtful to his life. ¬†Sounds like a pretty cliched story, right? ¬†Well, what Eastwood and writer Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) tried to do to make it fresh is have two other stories that are totally unrelated to Damon's and have them crisscross a la Traffic or Babel. ¬†The other two stories involve a French journalist played by Cecile de France and a young British boy played by Frankie McLaren. ¬†Either of these stories would be interesting on their own but are told in such a boring, plodding way. ¬†The story of the French woman starts the movie and it's utterly amazing and enthralling. ¬†It takes place during the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. ¬†It's so incredible in the way it was filmed and really does a great job of showing how horrible that event was. ¬†The British boy's story also involves a true story and it is the terrorist bombing of the London subway in 2005. ¬†However, whenever Eastwood does a movie that features a child actor to carry a major role, it's a safe bet that it will be cast horribly. ¬†The reason why Gran Torino was so bad was because the two child actors he cast were unwatchable. ¬†McLaren isn't much better. ¬†I get the impression that he was cast because he was a twin and has the most pathetic, dopey look on his face that screams tragedy without saying a word. ¬†And if he was playing a mute in the film, that would be just fine, but he's not. ¬†I know it's cruel to single out a kid as the weakest link in a painfully average movie so I'll emphasis that it's not just him. ¬†The whole film lacked any kind of energy or pulse. ¬†I wish Matt Damon's psychic character could commune with this dead film to find out how to make it better. ¬†Even the moments that made me tear up only achieved half of the potential the story offered. ¬†The good news though is that doing these movies seems to keep Eastwood alive and well and we can keep hoping for another Million Dollar Baby.
Hereafter (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: C