Clint Eastwood’s first venture into the supernatural, structured in three distinct, interwoven, and, we may presume, converging storylines, dealing directly with the subject of death and beyond. The screenplay by Peter Morgan, known for such docudramas as The Queen and Frost/Nixon, touches upon, gives voice to, a variety of common beliefs on the subject, in much the manner of a topical made-for-television movie, well-researched, well-rounded, journalistically balanced, elementarily educational. And despite the mantle of supernaturalism, it must be insisted that this cannot be classified a genre film. It is unquestionably a handsome film to look at, well lit and sharply etched, sinewy with the compositional tension of the director’s signature low-angle diagonals; and it’s a tribute to his sure-footedness that the special-effects climax (a calamitous tsunami), coming at the start instead of at the end, powerful and yet not overpowering, doesn’t throw the entire film out of whack. But while we can admire once again his willingness to attempt something different, we needn’t at the same time accept that this particular something is quite his meat. The feeling, the fact, that he is out of his element — no less than Morgan is out of his element — would help to account for a palpable naivité. Their alienness to the territory seems to have permitted them to imagine that a professed belief in the afterlife is a sufficient wow in a tale of wonder. Any decent dabbler in the supernatural genre would take as a starting point what Eastwood and Morgan have tried to palm off as an ending point. Matt Damon, Cécile de France, Jay Mohr, Bryce Dallas Howard, Frankie and George McLaren. (2010) — Duncan Shepherd
This movie is not currently in theaters.