Hereafter – The Big Sleep: Clint Eastwood’s soporific movie ponders the afterlife

Clint Eastwood’s latest movie opens with a spectacular natural disaster, an awesome scene (inspired by a real event) that takes the viewer’s breath away.

After that, disappointingly, this earnest drama about the afterlife is a bit of a plod as we follow three far-flung people whose fates slowly converge: a chic French TV journalist who was caught up in the disaster (Cécile de France); a London schoolboy left bereft by the death of his twin (George and Frankie McLaren); and Matt Damon’s reluctant psychic, a man who has come to see his ability to commune with the dead as a curse instead of a gift (not a happy medium, this chap).

Peter Morgan’s globe-hopping, multi-stranded narrative eventually brings this trio to the same place. They meet at the London Book Fair, hardly the most exciting or glamorous of locations, so it’s hardly surprising that the film’s climax should underwhelm.

Eastwood clearly has compassion for his characters, but this isn’t enough to stop Hereafter from being a stinker. Most of the blame lies with Frost/Nixon author Morgan’s clunkily contrived script, but Eastwood’s direction supplies its own moments of naffness too.

On general release from 28th January.

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