Premieres: March 22nd
Directed by: James Kent
Written by: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse & Rhidian Brook
Based on the novel by: Rhidian Brook
Set in Post-WWII Germany The Aftermath is a movie about grieving families amongst a city attempting to rebuild . We meet Rachael Morgan (Kiera Knightly) and her husband Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke) as they settle into their new home in Hamburg, Germany. Lewis is an officer in the British army and as such is given use of a house for him and his wife. The former home’s occupiants being Stephen Lubert (Alexander Skarsgard) and his teenage daugher Freda (Flora Thiemann) who are invited to stay on till they are cleared to move wherever they wish. Lewis is often called away on assignment leaving his Rachael and Lubert much time to get to know each other.
There’s tension all over the place from the beginning. There’s awkwardness between the Morgan’s. As they meet on the train platform you get the feeling there’s a dark cloud hanging over their relationship. The two of them definitely don’t just fall back exactly where they presumably left off. There’s tension between Racheal and Lubert. He’s German. She’s British. They’ve both lost people due to the war. Then there’s the issue of whether or not Lubert was a Nazi. Which I have to say is quickly dropped and not sufficiently answered for me.
To say you could cut the tension with a knife would be cliché, so I won’t. BUT you could cut the tension with a knife!
I know I say this at the start of every review… but I enjoyed this movie. I won’t deny it. It takes a lot to make me dislike a movie. Yet, considering the era in which this movie was placed, it lacked anything that I would consider substance. There should have been extremely high stakes and even as the metaphorical gun powered was lit… it quickly fizzled out. In the end nothing broke which could not be fixed. I didn’t feel the emotional turmoil that I would have expected from a movie like this. If anything, this just made me long to watch Atonement so I could cry my eyes out three or four times.
This movie was the pickled ginger that comes on the side of your sushi. It’s delicious and I always order extra, but it’s not a meal (oh, man do I wish I was the one to come up with that one on my own, but I didn’t. A friend helped me out with that one).
The Aftermath was formulaic to put it nicely. Two attractive people such as Knightly and Skarsgard stuck in a house, both grieving for their broken families – what could happen?! I’ve never read a romance novel, but I’ve read one or two angsty romance fanfics in my day and let me tell you, this felt like a story I’d seen before.
For a nearly 2 hour movie, I didn’t feel that enough time was spent on any of the relationships in a way that made me care one way or another what choice Rachael made in the end. The fact that the movie (perhaps this plays better in the novel) tries so hard to have a happy ending without an asterisks at the end is what made me feel like the film lacked any real kind of emotional explosion. One gentlemen in my audience clapped at the end of the film, but no one joined him. Maybe it’s because no one felt attached enough to any of the characters to feel a triumph in this ending.
The Aftermath had all the makings of a heart wrenching film about love and loss and the struggles of losing people that can’t be replaced and it kind of blew it.
Watch this movie for pretty people who find what they’re searching for in each other. Watch it for Alexander Skarsgard in a cable knit turtleneck and Kiera Knightly in a delicate silk dress. No one can rock a delicate silk dress like Kiera Knightly and those are my final thoughts on the film.