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updated 11/01/2010 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 11/01/2010 01:00AM

Hereafter

Matt Damon, Cecile de France, Jay Mohr | PG-13 |

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DRAMA

Clint Eastwood is a master of visceral storytelling-all the cowboys, crooks and fighters on his resume can tell you that. He is, however, less sure-footed in the metaphysical. Hereafter is Eastwood's overly long, moody take on what happens after we die, though the first five minutes suggest a different film entirely. Journalist Marie (de France), vacationing in Thailand, is suddenly swept up in the tsunami of 2004 in a scene of such terrific force that the rest of the film can't help but be a slow letdown. As Marie returns to France and struggles with flashbacks, reluctant psychic George (Damon) plods through his lonely life in America, while British boy Marcus (Frankie and George McLaren) retreats into himself after he loses someone close to him. The threads stay mostly separate, with each character suffering in quiet misery until the film's unsatisfying conclusion brings them together in a kind of forced catharsis. In Hereafter, as in the real world, an obsession with death means no life at all.

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