Director: Elliott Lester
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scoot McNairy & Maggie Grace
Review Author: Shaun
Rating: 4/5 shots of Vodka
“Aftermath” is the story of a tragic plane crash between two commercial airliners. As a result, 271 lives are lost. Among them is the wife and pregnant daughter of the Russian foreman Roman (Schwarzenegger). Don’t expect staggering images of the accident with explosive footage and anxiously screaming passengers. The only image you’ll see of the incident is that of Jake (Scoot McNairy) in the control tower looking bewildered at his screen where the two symbols of the particular line flights disappeared and a short fragment of the place where the wreckage crashed. No, the film focuses on the aftermath and the impact the accident has on the two people involved.
In the beginning, I thought the plane accident was the result of a plot and the phone was deliberately sabotaged. In short, I actually expected a suspenseful thriller where Schwarzenegger could give someone a piece of his mind. However, don’t expect an action-packed movie.Aftermath is a slow burner about dealing with loss and guilt. A film focusing on central themes of grief and self-pity after a traumatic experience. It’s a thorough character study of two people whose life collapsed because of a tragic accident. But underneath these emotions that feeling of revenge simmers and you wait for that obvious confrontation between the victim and the one who caused all the suffering.
The only thing Roman wants is someone to apologise and simply say “We’re sorry”. It’s a series of scenes of a mourning Schwarzenegger and McNairy who can’t handle his fatal error. Their emotional state is the reason why they can’t function properly. Roman hides away and is no longer able to perform anything meaningful. He spends his nights sleeping on the grave of his deceased relatives. Jake retreats into a cocoon of self-pity and reproach. It ends up in an unmanageable family situation and a short-term breakup initiated by his wife (Maggie Grace).
Schwarzenegger once again amazes me with a dramatic role in a more melodramatic film. Earlier he demonstrated these unseen acting chops in “Maggie”. It’s an actor who has had his limitations in the past and is breaking away from the stereotypical roles of his past career. Here he proves that he can act as good as flexing his impressive muscles. The latter is not so evident anymore, considering his age. Not only is his face is weathered by age also, his butt doesn’t look as tight anymore as seen in a shower scene. Clear evidence that even an infamous action-hero can’t be saved from father time. But the moment his character is sitting opposite some insensitive lawyers who speak to him in a disparaging tone, Schwarzenegger shows again how intimidating and imminent he can be. Without a doubt, the most fascinating scene from the entire movie.
To close, after a depressingly start, the rebirth of Arnie finally hits its stride with a great, low-key performance that should get him back to where he belongs in the public consciousness.
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