Ghost stories

Hereafter

Clint Eastwood, director of last year’s critically acclaimed "Invictus" returns with another attempt to pull at our heart strings with the film "Hereafter." Starring Matt Damon ("Invictus") and Cecile de France ("Soeur Sourire"), the film is a drama about death and how it affects different people. At least that’s what it’s supposed to be about, but the script fails to deliver this message clearly.

The movie is more about Damon’s character, George, who is a psychic trying to live a normal life. This premise is simply not good enough to be its own story, so, it seems the writers added a collection of other stories.

The film is actually three separate stories spread throughout three different characters in three different countries. There is Damon’s story, which takes place in the U.S. and is, sadly, the most compelling story of the three. France’s character, Marie Lelay, is a French journalist that almost gets killed in a tsunami and has a vision of the afterlife. Afterward, she has a fascination with her vision and wants to write a book about it.

And then there’s Marcus, played by child actors Frankie and George McLaren, a young British boy whose brother died in a car accident. His story is the only one that is actually affected by death. The other stories only loosely tie in death: France’s character is more affected by her vision of the afterlife, instead of the thousands of people who died around her in the tsunami, and Damon’s character is more affected by his unwanted psychic abilities than death itself.

The acting is nothing special. Damon does a pretty good job and so do most of the people in his "story." France doesn’t do that well, but her character isn’t that interesting so it seems like she did what she could. The McLaren Brothers do fine for their first acting roles, but it was not hard to figure out this is the first movie they’ve been in.

"Hereafter" does have its strengths; the cinematography is very nice and the soundtrack is more moving than the actual script. A scene with a tsunami was especially moving and even haunting at certain moments, however, the story is unfocused, poorly paced and spread too thin. The original concept of death affecting the three different characters in three different ways is lost within the time-zones between the three countries where this takes place. "Hereafter" is not a bad film, but if there is something else you would rather watch, then see that.