Clint Eastwood represents at the Oscars once again this year, not with acting or directing (though he did direct the feature), but instead contributes to the unlikely category of Best Visual Effects with his supernatural dramatic thriller “Hereafter” starring busy man Matt Damon (who also stars in “True Grit”). I say unlikeliest because “Hereafter” is not heavily visual stimulating.

You watch films like “Inception” and “Alice in Wonderland” and most walk away commenting on the visuals of the film. They add such an element to the film that if people do not take away from the story, they take away from the aesthetics. “Hereafter” does not really do this, solely due to the fact that the visual effects are minimal.

The tidal wave sequence at the beginning of the film is the claim to the award by “Hereafter”. The problem lies in the fact that the graphics are not even that convincing for what are now Oscar nominated visual effects. The flowing water and its surroundings lack believability, taking you out of the moment, and drawing your attention away from the film’s plot.

The film also contains some flashes of the afterlife whenever Matt Damon touches someone. Granted this only happens a few times throughout the course of the film, the plot would have worked just as well (if not better) if the visual effect was not used at all. Once again, if a visual effect takes an audience member out of the film for even a moment, it has failed.

With a lack of wherewithal and more competent visual effects films, “Hereafter” will take the last spot in my predictions. I believe that “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” was absolutely robbed by “Hereafter” and it just goes to show you where the Academy’s loyalty resides. If it had not been a Clint Eastwood film, would it have even been nominated? I wonder how Edgar Wright feels about that?


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