Starring Matt Damon, Cecile De France, and Jay Mohr
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including disturbing disaster and accident images, and for brief strong language
Appropriate for ages 13+
Matt Damon is a retired Psychic who might be the only person on earth with an actual gift to speak to the deceased. He considers it a curse, though, and wishes never to have to use his ability again. But when a young British boy loses his twin brother and a French journalist dies during a natural disaster and returns to life, the three souls are drawn toward each other by fate.
From the outside this film looks like it will be a heavy, spiritual film that will deeply touch any audience brave enough to watch it. After all, it’s a film about life and death and the connection between the two and you can’t get much more profound than that. Unfortunately, the decision was made to mock Christianity and Islam through the device of a child watching youtube videos, leaving Matt Damon as the only true link to life everlasting. Maybe writer Peter Morgan thought that it might be less offensive to audiences to make the themes agnostic, but I think the opposite is true. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would be touched by a movie afraid to take a stance and, other than the youtube videos, no mention of religion is hinted at.
Besides being a generic afterlife movie in theme, many of the qualities you would normally expect to be great coming from an Eastwood picture aren’t there. While Damon and De France turn in good enough performances, many of the others actors are sub-par. The child, played by real-life twin brothers looks like he is reading off of cue cards and never once pretends to be a serious actor. In a movie like this that is highly unfortunate as this role needs to be there in order for the movie to work.
In addition, the score, written by Eastwood himself, is a disappointment throughout. I’m not doubting his abilities as a musician, but I am doubting his judgment as to what music works and where. With a better composer I think I might have been at least a lot less distracted.
Still, fixing the smaller flaws doesn’t help the story enough to make it a compelling drama. Maybe it’s that I expected a lot and didn’t get it, but I left the theater feeling cheated out of what could have been a great experience. C