The big man is back, this time he’s gunning for revenge against the bad guy who murdered his family…. except it’s not the 80s anymore and this isn’t an action movie. Aftermath takes the true life story of a mid air collision between two airplanes, and one man’s quest for justice in the (insert title). Those looking for scenes of Arnie gunning down hordes of terrorists and quipping one-liners will be disappointed, but for more dedicated Arnie fans like me who are just happy that he’s still working, this is a unique oddity in his filmography.
Since stepping down as The Governator, Arnie has been expanded his dramatic chops more. He still throws down in old school Action flicks such as Sabotage and The Last Stand, he has made smaller films in quieter dramas such as Maggie or notable cameos like in Killing Gunther. Aftermath sees him star as an unassuming builder looking forward to the arrival of his wife and pregnant daughter, only to receive the news that they have tied in an air traffic accident. The film isn’t only his story, his is paralleled (just like the intersecting paths of the airplanes, get it?) by the air traffic controller who is ostensibly blamed for the incident. The film follows both characters, one racked with guilt, the other fueled by a need to hear someone apologize for what has happened, both suffering from different losses in different ways.
The film is well acted though strangely uneventful. There is a quietness to the emotional content which never wallows in grief or in breakdown, instead showing the simple void of shock and misunderstanding which surrounds loss. It is almost played like a TV drama – in terms of music, direction, writing, there is nothing out of the ordinary beyond the big name cast. It seems like a strange choice for Schwarzenegger as this was never going to be a money maker or raise his profile in any way, so we can only assume it was the story and character he was interested in. Just one side note – while the film ended essentially how you expect it to once its big shock is out of the way (I didn’t think the film would take the turn that it did), it did leave me wishing that one side character got his comeuppance. It’s immature and fruitless, but when dickish characters get away with their dickish behaviour in movies or TV, it pisses me off because I know that’s what tends to happen in real life. We like seeing these scumbags getting tossed off buildings or arrested etc because its escapism. There is a textbook smarmy lawyer in the film (played by good old Terry from Dawn Of The Dead) who refuses to look at a photograph of Arnie’s family, instead smirking with his Gordon Gecko hair and sitting smug in the knowledge that Arnie will never succeed in court. It would have been nice to see Arnie ram his fist into this guy’s stomach and break his Goddamn spine, but alas. The main issue with this is, there’s no way this character is a real person – for such a sensitive event, no firm in the world is going to send such a repugnant asshole – every firm in the world would be bending over backwards to make you feel good and freaking the hell out that they could lose.
Let us know in the comments what you think of Aftermath!
It is a well known fact that some idiots believe the world will end on 21st Dec 2012. This is due to an age old series of prophecies written by the Mayans of South America. Now, they were a crazy bunch alright, crazy smart. Better mathmeticians than Carol Vorderman, better space staring guys that Patrick Moore, smarter physicists than Stephen Hawkwing. They understood the galaxy and time, dates, calendars. They knew which day certain galactic events like eclipses etc would take place, hundreds of years before we could work it out. They built massive buildings and pyramids dedicated to such practices- buildings which on a certain hour of a certain day, in a certain year sunlight would penetrate and create wonderful shadows and pictures. Naturally with all these skills it is believed they could predict future events. As we live in a time of fear and nonsense one out of every one fools believes that the world is going to end one way or another, and probably soon. The Mayans say 2012, and some say every prediction they have made has come true. Of course the predictions themselves are as follows: ‘When the smiling Devil Bird has turned 58 thousand times the grass will eat the land, and the Jaguar will have a corn bride’. Naturally this can be translated as the rise of Hitler. I have been to various temple and have spoken to many Mayan who now practice Christianity and laugh at such claims. The only prediction they made to me was that I would give them 5 dollars for a fertility statue. They were wrong. I have recently been making a few generous predictions of my own which I am confident will come true. Read into them what you may: Somewhere, some time on the 14th February 2014, there will be an episode of The Simpsons shown on TV; Madonna will be dead 150 years from now; When the Spac Twins reach four figure viewings on Youtube there will be a great cheer of despair; this film will make more than 137 Dollars at the Box Office on November 15 2009. Of course such fairytales make for great films- and by great I mean balls.
Roland ‘The Rat’ Iamrich has taken another end of the world scenario and turned it into a special graphics laden affair- their will be giant CG tidal waves, giant CG explodings, various famous world landmarks will be destroyed, and at some point the fat, nerdy one will make a quip which no-one will find amusing. About 3 hours into the movie the hero, his girlfriend, and his father/son will realize that they can save the world and restore all this ungodly destruction in a matter of hours by some simple natural/scientific solution that had previously slipped their minds. All will be well. I wait for the day when someone makes a film about the moon smashing into the earth- and is simply 127 minutes of explosions, people screaming and dying, and The Moon encroaching on everyone’s personal space. It will surely be the greatest film of all time- by which I mean balls.
Best Scene: I predict the best scene will be when a CG animal (Tiger/Wolf/Polar Bear/Rhino/Hippy) which has mysteriously blown across several continents to America chases our heroes until it eventually gets crushed by rock.
PS: This review was originally written in June 2009