Hereafter

Article excerpt

HEREAFTER

Directed by Clint Eastwood (Warner Brothers, 2010)

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For almost half a century Clint Eastwood has been making films about death, but nearly all of these movies have been violent adventures in which death arrives as an apocalyptic horseman of vengeance, punishment, or damnation. Now, at long last, the octogenarian filmmaker is taking a curious, unblinking look at death as loss and wondering--in a way his earlier films rarely did--what it is like for those left behind in its wake.

Over the past two decades Eastwood has become America's most serious mainstream filmmaker, probing and dissecting the Hollywood myths of redemptive violence that earned him box office success. Unforgiven and Mystic River explore the folly of vengeance with stories that transform Eastwood's earlier avenging angels into tragic figures worse than the men they kill. Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima deconstruct patriotic fables sanctifying our violence and demonizing our enemies, and Invictus and Gran Torino explore the virtue and redemptive power of forgiveness and reconciliation. …