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 Grim surrealism at center of serendipitous psychic drama


Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers
Matt Damon stars in Clint Eastwood's latest film, "Hereafter."


By Kam Williams / Critic

(Nov. 12, 2010) — I thought that the American obsession with psychics had pretty much ended once Miss Cleo was exposed as a fraud from Los Angeles as opposed to the shaman from Jamaica she posed as on the Psychic Friends Network infomercial. Even though nobody with an IQ above room temperature consults clairvoyants with crystal balls anymore, Clint Eastwood has inexplicably made a movie giving credence to such charlatans.

Hereafter is an otherworldly drama comprised of three discrete tales which eventually serendipitously intersect. The first one opens in Thailand where we find a TV news anchor (Cecile De France) vacationing with her boyfriend (Thierry Neuvic).

A tsunami hits the resort where they’re staying, and Marie seemingly drowns in the tidal wave. But no, she is miraculously resuscitated, and the near-death experience leaves the lucky reporter with ESP.

Upon her return to France with her beau, Marie’s more interested in exploring her newfound powers than in reading a teleprompter anymore. Resentful of the widespread cynicism she encounters whenever discussing her newfound visions, she decides to write a book entitled, “Hereafter: A Conspiracy of Silence.”

Meanwhile, clear across the pond in San Francisco, we find a closet psychic (Matt Damon) reluctantly conducting a séance as a favor to his little brother (Jay Mohr). However, George Lonegan has ostensibly grown very weary with being asked to peer into the future or the past.

Consequently, he’s become quite content to stay under the radar by passing himself off as an Average Joe. He hides his skills by working at a blue-collar factory job and by dating a loquacious airhead (Bryce Dallas Howard) he met at an adult school cooking class.

The third storyline focuses on a British schoolboy (Frankie McLaren) grieving the death of his identical twin (George McLaren) who was hit by a car crossing the street. Since the two had been inseparable, Marcus is desperate to contact the ghost of his dearly departed brother.

The plotlines intersect when a mysterious force summons George from ‘Frisco to England at just the same time Marie travels there to promote the publication of her memoir. While in London, the misunderstood sad sacks cross paths not only with each other but with equally-morose Marcus as well.

Too bad their dopey premonitions about death sound like pure Hogwarts, I mean hogwash. Harry Potter-style hocus pocus only aimed at folks who came of age in the era of the Ouija board.

Fair (*)

Rated PG-13 for mature themes, disturbing images and brief profanity.

Running time: 126 Minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers

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