Aftermath: A Dull Affair
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Director Eliott Lester’s Aftermath is a dull affair. Every tiny plot twist is toned down resulting in a plot that remains inevitably sober due to its lackluster screenplay. Even though the film begins as an aftermath of a plane crash, it lacks an underlying layer of substantial grief. It just touches upon the subject and refrains from trying to pull you into its misery. Sadly, this Arnold Schwarzeneggar starrer plunges too deep into sullen nothingness to find its way back to greatness.
Based on the real-life Überlingen mid-air collision, Aftermath follows the lives of Roman (Arnold Schwarzeneggar), a grief-stricken man who loses his family in the plane crash and a guilt-ridden air traffic controller Jake Bonanos (Scoot McNairy), who is held responsible for the collision. Not being able to cope up with the aftermath of the crash, Roman sets out in search of Jake in order to avenge the death of his family.
Usually, a film with the immense potential to induce grief finds it easy to pull the audiences to the core of its tragedy. It even uses moments of silence to demonstrate suspense. But in Aftermath, moments of silences are packed with emptiness. Instead of venturing deep into the plot’s core point, it just touches upon the tragedy and leaves it be. Such an apparent lack of concern softens the impact of traumatic scenes.
Furthermore, Director Lester provides very little scope for you to witness the plane crash. We never get a proper glimpse of Roman’s family. We don’t see their happiness or tension, so whatever little grief he exhibits, you will not be able to connect to it. A story of this stature demands emotional investment, but due to its underplayed screenplay, we only witness a restraint of emotions rather than a release of grief.
Apart from one particular confrontational scene, Arnold Schwarzeneggar downplays most of the scenes. Considering the amount of trauma Roman is put through, Schwarzeneggar’s limited scale of emotions don’t do justice to the actual suffering of the character. His efforts to play against type has to be appreciated, but as far as Aftermath is concerned, he seems to be mis-casted. Whatever emotions Schwarzeneggar holds back, Scoot McNairy makes up for it. His body language and character nuances provide a landscape of tension for a brief moment.
The technicalities of Aftermath adequately complement the story. Technically, there is only so much one can do with a screenplay that refuses to move ahead swiftly. The background score could’ve been better. In many significant sequences, the background score reflected eeriness rather than signifying grief.
On the whole, Aftermath provides a dull experience due to its lackluster screenplay. A more tactful and in-depth approach to this real-life tragedy could’ve translated it onto the silver screens with a deeper impact.