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Preview review: Clint Eastwood finds new life with 'Hereafter'

September 14, 2010 | 10:24 am

Hereafter01 At 80, Clint Eastwood has made it clear he has no interest in repeating himself.

"At the age I am now, I just don't have any interest in going back and doing the same sort of thing over and over. That's one of the reasons I moved away from westerns," he told our colleague Geoff Boucher recently.

Case in point? Eastwood's latest film, his sixth in fewer than four years, a supernatural drama called "Hereafter."

The film -- which we get a glimpse of in a newly released trailer -- centers on three individuals with unique connections to death and what may happen afterward. There's a young boy grappling with the loss of his twin brother (Frankie McLaren), a French journalist who apparently comes back to life after dying in a tsunami (Cécile de France) and a psychic who holds the power to connect with the dead (Matt Damon).

But if you watched the trailer, you likely weren't able to tell that Damon only comprises a third of the film. He's featured prominently throughout the preview (a marketing decision that is perhaps understandable, considering McLaren is a newcomer and American audiences aren't yet all that familiar with De France).

Playing a reluctant medium struggling with whether or not to use his powers, he's inhabiting the role he's often best in -- a man who's hesitant to show his emotions.

Critics are already remarking that the film seems like a departure for Eastwood. Some of that probably comes from the triptych structure, and some of it from the instances of CG (particularly in an opening scene depicting a tsunami). While scenes like these lead us to believe the movie will be visually stunning, we're a bit worried that the movie could have a somewhat maudlin tone. We don't think anyone cracks a smile once in this trailer.

It's Eastwood and Damon, of course, so we're still intrigued. We just hope that the film doesn't rely on stale ideas about the hereafter -- and is able to deliver the emotional wallop it seems to be promising.

--Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Bryce Dallas Howard and Matt Damon in "Hereafter." Credit: Warner Bros.

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