Magazine article The Spectator

Leaden Mess

Magazine article The Spectator

Leaden Mess

Article excerpt


12A, Nationwide

Hereafter is directed by Clint Eastwood, produced by Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg, and written by Peter Morgan, although what would attract one of these big names to such a project, let alone three, is anyone's guess. Honestly, I had more fun this week doing my tax return which, every year, nicely reminds me what a pitiful amount of money I earn and what a total loser I am.

Did Peter ( Frost/Nixon ; The Queen ; Damned United ; Lots of Good Stuff) and Clint (Lots of Good Stuff) and Stephen (See Clint) meet in Starbucks one morning and say, 'You know what, making good films is such a drag. I'm thinking we should challenge ourselves with some sentimental drivel that is also a leaden mess. Peter, do you think you could manage a turgid script by Tuesday week?' I can't think of any other way to explain it. If I could, I would be more successful, and chief film critic of the New York Times by now, with my own TV show and website.

I'm trying to think of a way of getting out of saying what the film is about, because just the thought of revisiting it bores me, but as I don't even have the imagination for that, I suppose I'll have to go ahead, pathetic charade as it is. OK, it's about three people who live in separate countries, have all been touched by death and have an interest in communing with the dead Over There, and meander about repetitively until they all come together in an incredulous ending that is meant to be moving and make you cry but, I can promise you, there wasn't a wet eye in the house.

And the three people? Must we? Very well. One is George (Matt Damon), an American blue-collar worker and psychic who can contact the dead but is weary of this ability. 'It's not a gift, it's a curse, ' he says at least 79 times to anyone who will listen.

Meanwhile, in London, nowhere near Tower Bridge, or Big Ben, although we are shown them anyway, 12-year-old twin brothers Marcus and Jason (Frankie and George McLaren) live with their alcoholic mother and are close until one is killed in a road accident, which isn't as tragic as it seems, as 50 per cent less McLaren has to be an excellent thing. They speak like this: 'At last we. Can be a real. Family again. …

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