Contemplating The 'Hereafter,' Unhurriedly Clint Eastwood takes on a new kind of project: a supernatural drama that quietly meditates on the afterlife, following several characters who've had brushes with death. Matt Damon's reluctant psychic struggles with his gift, a writer reacts to nearly dying and a young boy grieves for his lost twin.
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Contemplating The 'Hereafter,' Unhurriedly

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Contemplating The 'Hereafter,' Unhurriedly

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Contemplating The 'Hereafter,' Unhurriedly

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II: Well, as different as those movies are, Bob Mondello says that none of them sets you up for Eastwood's latest effort: "Hereafter."

BOB MONDELLO: The first seven minutes of "Hereafter," will knock your ears back. A huge tidal wave - the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 - slams into a resort where a French journalist is shopping in a street market.

(SOUNDBITE OF WAVES)

MONDELLO: I wish I could say the same thing happens to the sober, heart-felt movie she's in. After that startling disaster-flick opening, "Hereafter" gets hit by a slow-motion tidal wave of afterlife hokum, and you can feel it slipping away, despite Eastwood's best efforts to keep it on life support. His biggest ally in that struggle is Matt Damon, playing an extremely unwilling psychic who keeps being approached by strangers who want him to do readings - even on the staircase to his apartment.

(SOUNDBITE FROM MOVIE, "HEREAFTER")

MATT DAMON: (as George) I don't do readings anymore.

: (as character) You did one last week for Mr. Andrews.

DAMON: Unidentified Woman #1: (as character) Please, I'll go..

DAMON: (as George) I don't want you in...

: (as character) Everything I have. I lost my only child. I just want to talk to her. Please, I want to talk to my baby.

DAMON: (as George) I - I can't help you. I don't do that - I don't do it anymore. Please.

MONDELLO: Damon's character is supposed to be the real deal. When he holds hands with someone, even for just a second, he can see any dead folks they happen to be grieving for. Understandably, he wears gloves where he can, but sometimes, there's just no avoiding holding hands - say, with a gal he meets in cooking class.

(SOUNDBITE FROM MOVIE, "HEREAFTER")

DAMON: Unidentified Woman #2 (Actor): (as character) Why?

DAMON: (as George) Because if we open the door and go down that road, any chance that we had of having something normal will just be gone. Knowing everything about someone... eh, it seems nice, but really, maybe it's - it's actually better to hold stuff back.

MONDELLO: I'm Bob Mondello.

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