Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scoot McNairy, Maggie Grace
Director: Elliot Lester
Aftermath is a heartbreaking story of terrible grief and the nature of revenge, as two lives collide. A loving father who loses his pregnant daughter and wife in a plane crash, and the air traffic controller blamed for the deaths of the 271 people on board. Neither man can deal with the huge loss, and spiral into depression and sadness. But while one eventually tries to start a new life, the other will do anything to have his loss acknowledged. Anything.
When you think of Arnold Schwarzenegger, you tend to think of those huge blockbusters like Predator or The Terminator. He’s a man who made his name out of being a huge presence, and later he often took the piss out of himself for that same persona, in films like Kindergarten Cop or, as we looked at on here recently, The Last Action Hero. He’s someone that’s easy to dismiss in that sense, as an action guy.
But when you think about it, those scenes in Terminator 2 where he bonds with the young John Connor are part of what make that film so great. Even his chemistry with his child sidekick in Last Action Hero are at the core of the film, a really important part.
Where am I going with this? Well, if any of you have seen the incredible film Maggie, in which he stars alongside Abigail Breslin, as a father watching his beloved daughter slowly turning into a zombie, you’ll probably already know that Arnie is starting to show some incredible dramatic capabilities recently.
And this film for me was like a punch in the stomach. Schwarzenegger as Roman is a confident, hard working, strong man, whose love for his family is pretty adorable. It’s heart breaking to watch him hurting and trying to come to terms with people who are more interested in the bottom line than listening to him and giving him the simple apology and recognition he needs to help him move on. I really liked that though Jake (McNairy) is the man responsible, he’s really not the bad guy. Eventually I found him incredibly irritating, but he’s a well rounded and sympathetic character facing the awful truth that something he did caused massive death.
Although it’s billed as a thriller and a revenge film, it’s actually more a drama, or perhaps an exploration of why we think revenge will help us heal, and how fixating on something is sometimes the only way out that we can find. It’s a tragic film, and it’s success lies in Schwarzenegger’s presence, his warmth, and his ability to act. It’s wonderful to see this side of him, a new phase of the career of a man whose films I’ve always enjoyed.
See It If: it’s a sad film, be prepared for that. But it’s a fascinating look at two sides of the story. Worth seeing for it’s drama, and definitely worth seeing for Arnie’s performance alone.
Aftermath is out on Blu Ray and DVD today.