Hereafter Blu-Ray Review

The Movie: 7.5/10
I love this subject. Life after death is one of those things that has lingered through our human existence. I don’t know the reality of it all, who knows? If I die and then my “soul” goes on to do some more stuff, fine. If I die and there is not a “soul” to be found, fair enough. I plan to be cremated so that will be that either way really. See, I’m thinking even as you read this it’s an uncomfortable topic, death, souls, etc. That must be what I like about this movie so much. It’s not preachy or creepy, it’s just what it is. The idea is that we have three people who are experiencing some kind of encounter with death, a near death experience, a loss of a loved one, and someone who can communicate with the dead (don’t lose me here, keep reading even if you start feeling the crazies). How these scenarios criss cross is the heart of the film for me. The real life connection we make with people, living people, and how our experiences lead us to each other, to a better understanding of each other, and then just living a more satisfying life because we have made those connections.

I get from the story that focusing on your dead loved ones, or the feelings of loss, or fear of death, well, it’s all just keeping us from living a more fullfilling life. As for the movie itself, yea, it has flaws. There are some moments of very questionable acting, or just awkwardness between people in scenes. One in particular is the eating scene..ugh. I really want to edit that out myself, but then again the content of the relationship between Damon and the young woman is relavant to his part of the story, so I just overlooked it. That’s what happens when I am really digging on a story, or a movie, or some aspect of a movie, I just overlook the flaws. It’s reasonable to say this is not a GREAT movie, very fair in fact. It’s a good flick with some ideas that are handled in a way that I appreciate.Oh, and there is an action sequence in the beginning of the movie that will blow your mind. It’s troublling and scary and really well done. It would be the pay off for some other movie as the big event at the end, but this time it’s a tragic natural disaster used to offer us one of the many human stories that come out of such things. It’s really an amazing scene, troubling for real life, as a movie it’s amazing.

There are various locations which gives the movie such a nice international vibe. Clint Eastwood takes his movie making pretty seriously and if someone speaks French, he has French writers come in, translate it into well written French, hires French people….you get the idea. It adds such an authentic and exciting tone to the whole thing. I love that about this movie, it’s got some vim and vigor about it, but at it’s heart is really about the quiet connections between people.

Life after death might be a touch subject, and if you feel the need to avoid anyone talking about it, making movies about it, having a view different from yours, well, that’s your choice. I like to hear all the ideas about it, beliefs, thoughts, theories, experiences, because my belief is that there is nothing. I’m alive, then I’m dead and that’s that…which is fine with me. I will make the most of the times of my life while I have the chance and if I screw it up that’s just how it goes.

Features: 8/10

  • The Eastwood Factor (Extended Edition) – An awesome 90 minute documentary chronicling Eastwoods life in film.
  • Focus Points – Watch behind the scenes features either while the movie is playing Picture In Picture or full screen.
  • DVD & Digital Copy – Lots of options to watch the movie for those on the go.

Cover Art and Menus: 2/10
The cover of this DVD is annoying, at best. I like Matt Damon, but come on people!!! His glossy smoothed face smashed up at me with that lovely woman shoved to the back. And that blue glowing thing…ugh. What is a better alternative? I don’t know, but this one will not be making it to my wall as a poster, no way, no how. The menu is fine. it’s got those tiers that pop up and slide away when you choose something. it’s pretty standard.

Audio & Video: 8/10
From the opening moments you know you are in for a treat with the Blu-Ray presentation of Hereafter. The opening scene may be super disturbing (and very badly timed due to what happened in Japan recently) but that does not make it less stunning. This kind of CG work does not hold up to HD viewing (see 2012) but Hereafter holds up perfectly. Director of Photography Tom Stern tends to light on the dark shadowy side, and this comes across in a lot of the scenes, the Blu-Ray slightly crushes some of the blacks but it’s not to the point of it being distracting. Overall this is a nice looking Blu-Ray and another feather in Warner’s cap.

You might think Hereafter is a talky kind of movie and while this is partly true the soundtrack on this disc has a lot more to content with than just vocals, Tsunami’s, a terrorist bombing, A busy sugar factory and a cooking class are just some of the situations the movie deals with. Audio is sharp and pin clear it is as imersive as most action movies you will see this year, presented in DTS-HD Master 5.1 audio this is a stunning soundtrack and quite unexpected. Special note to Clint Eastwood’s original piano score, a lot of his music sounds similar to me but this is fairly different to the stuff he did in the last few movies.

Value: 4/10
I will watch this movie again. I would pay $20 bucks for it, but not the full price of almost $30. That is strange and bizarre because I would normally never recommend paying that price for a movie, but I know people who would appreciate the ideas and we would have a good discussion afterward. I’m willing to put it on the shelf. If you want to dabble in a thoughtful Matt Damon movie, rent it and get on with your life..

Overall Score 7.5/10