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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Aftermath 2017 * * 1/2 Stars

AftermathDirector: Elliott Lester
Year: 2017
Rated R
Rating: * * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scott McNairy, Maggie Grace

Aftermath seems like a decent title for my latest review. It readily shows the quote unquote "aftermath" of two people dealing with a plane crash in a discontented winter. It starts off as absorbing. Then, it folds like a misconstrued hand at a poker game. Aftermath is movie "sitz bath".

Distributed by Lionsgate Premiere and based on a true account via a mid-air collision, Aftermath puts everything out there at a budget of $10 million. Perhaps if said budget were a little higher, director Elliott Lester would have detailed the wreckage more like Robert Zemeckis did in Flight or Clint Eastwood did in Sully. Regardless, he interrupts Aftermath to show a few 747's gliding distantly in the sky. It's probably Lester's only play and the obviousness is there to remind us.

Image result for aftermath 2017 movie scenes
Anyway, Aftermath's intrigue dons plot holes and puts the main characters in the forefront. The result is concise yet almost too concise. On the bright side, this conch does have a distinctive thread for a limited release film. The story involves a grizzled-up construction  worker who's about to be a grandfather. He then loses his wife and pregnant daughter in a plane accident. The air traffic controller assigned, had a mishap at work and that's what caused it all (271 people dead, ouch). Gradually, their sad narratives intertwine until they collide in two abrupt, sort of inessential conclusions. The second conclusion while surprising, hastily involves the air traffic controller's son.

Aftermath does have a few moments that are shattering. It's a manipulative dramatization, brought on by cynicism, unhappy resolves, and self-hatred. Lester relies heavily on a slow burn approach and does what he can. However, his flick while vaguely admirable, dissolves into paint-by-numbers material teetering on the edge of DVD premiere territory (which it almost is). The work from his two lead actors (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Scott McNairy) almost deems Aftermath to be recommendable.

Image result for aftermath 2017 movie scenesHarboring a silvery beard and a solemn look, Schwarzenegger pretty much tells the world he's done being an action hero. His range as a dramatic trouper has always been suspect but here he manages to offer a heartfelt and seething performance. As the tormented grandfather named Roman Melnik, he gives us his best turn since Total Recall. McNairy who was a bright spot in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, matches him as well. He blurs the lines of sanity and loneliness as the embattled air traffic controller named Jake Bonanos. They try hard but Aftermath with its lot of scheming disenchantment and its junctures fitting too nicely, doesn't quite do them a solid. Overall, a mixed review from me. Rating: 2 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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