The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 129 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Matt Damon, Cecile De France, Jay Mohr, Bryce Dallas Howard, Frankie McLaren, George McLaren, Lyndsey Marshal,
Directed by: Clint Eastwood
Written by: Peter Morgan
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 15, 2011
"Do you believe? "
George (Matt Damon) is a blue-collar American with a special connection to the afterlife dating from his childhood. French journalist Marie (Cécile de France) has a near-death experience that shakes her reality. And when London schoolboy Marcus (Frankie and George McLaren) loses the person closest to him, he desperately needs answers. Each seeking the truth, their lives will intersect, forever changed by what they believe might - or must - exist in the hereafter.
I really like Clint Eastwood as a director. I think that he has a flair for capturing the essence of the subject matter portrayed in his films and does so by establishing an intrinsically affirming connection with the characters. Hereafter tells the story of three people, George, Marie, and Marcus. George (Damon) has the ability to connect with people and through them make contact with those close to them who have recently died. He sees this ability as a curse rather than a blessing and probably with good reason. He has tried to put it behind him, a task that remains difficult for various reasons. Marie is a French television personality who has a near death experience while on vacation. Afterward she finds her life changed by it and can't concentrate at work. She opts to take a leave of absence and begins researching the hereafter for the purpose of writing a book about it. Marcus, is a twelve year old boy living in England. He and twin brother Jason live with their heroin addicted mother and when not in school spend their time running the home and keeping social services from taking them. Their three stories are told in a concurrent narrative that follows them as their lives devolve taking them on a converging path where the answers they seek will be found in one another.
I expect that this film's impact may be dependent on how open you are to its subject matter. it's a drama more than a film about the supernatural. It purposefully meanders but engages with clearly drawn characters whose individual stories speak of the human condition both within and beyond the story's context. I liked that and enjoyed the depiction of each aspect however I found myself wondering how the three would intersect. The why was obvious especially in the case of George and Marcus. Marie was the question mark and later when things come together it just left me perplexed and unsatisfied. The entire film builds to this defining moment and then fizzles. Other than that I must say that I really enjoyed Hereafter. The script is a bit uneven but holds together thanks to the subject matter, Eastwood's apt direction and a rock solid cast. I have never seen Cecile De France before but hope to again. She is captivating and gave a standout performance that overshadowed star Matt Damon. He is very consistent actor and is fine in the role of the lonely and tortured psychic George. There are several excellent moments in the film. Among them is Bryce Dallas Howard's part during the food sampling scene which was beautifully shot and tastefully erotic. The opening sequence that featured the tsunami hitting the small coastal town was amazing. Watching I couldn't help but be moved for the victims of the recent earthquake/tsunami that struck Japan. We should all take a moment to remember them as well as their families. Depending on your point of view you may appreciate the meaningful ideal behind Hereafter. It isn't a prerequisite though because there is more to enjoying it than just a belief in life after death. I found its evocative drama, excellent direction and wonderful cast to be compelling enough to satisfy despite an unfulfilling ending.
The rating is for mature thematic elements including disturbing disaster and accident images, and for brief strong language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Hereafter comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.
Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene and characters within it. The chroma range isn't diverse but hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are appropriately bland with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen were exquisitely detailed and sharp with superb depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast was strong and blacks were deep with revealing delineation that provided excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video had a clean, pristine quality that enhanced dimensionality and provided a looking through a window effect.
This is a surprisingly good lossless audio soundtrack. Being a film driven by dialogue it makes primary use of the front soundstage. Voice reproduction is tonally descriptive and full bodied which adds depth and audible texture to spoken dialogue. It doesn't consistently make active use of the surround platform however high level detail and extended dynamic range combine to invigorate the sounds/effects during several sequences. Listen to the power of the tsunami as it rips through the vacation resort/village or the explosive low frequency punch found in a terrorist bomb that goes off in a public area. Low level detail such as the atmospherics of a crowded subway platform or the finger plucking of an acoustic guitar are reproduced with sparkling realism. On a number of occasions I found myself completely immersed in this wonderful audio presentation.
- Step into Hereafter - An interactive Bonus view feature with director Clint Eastwood and Matt Damon as they discuss the possibility of life after death, skeptics, psychics and mediums while the film plays.
- (HD) Focus Points (approximately 43 minutes)
- Tsunami: recreating a disaster
- Is there life after death?
- Clint on casting
- Delving into the Hereafter
- Twin bonding
- French speaking French
- Why the white light?
- Hereafter locations: Casting the silent characters
- The Eastwood experience
- The Eastwood Factor: Extended Version - 88 minute documentary
- Bonus DVD of Hereafter
- Digital Copy
Hereafter is a rewarding dramatic film with a level of impact that very well may be tied to how open you are to its subject matter. Depending on your point of view you may appreciate the meaningful ideal behind it however there is more to enjoying Hereafter than just a belief in life after death. I found its emotive components, apt direction and wonderful cast to be compelling enough to satisfy despite my reservations about its ending. It makes its way onto Blu-ray via a strong two disc offering from Warner Home Video that features excellent audio/video quality, worthwhile supplemental features and a bonus DVD/Digital copy in case you want to take it on the go. This is worth checking out so feel free to toss it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package