Monday, February 07, 2011

After.Life (Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo, 2010) [Netflix Streaming]

The nicest thing I can say about this film is that I imagine the script was probably passable in it's original language. When translated to English, and committed to film by this team of people, it's an indistinguishable mess of a movie.

It's a sad thing, because I have enjoyed all three of the actors in this film. Christina Ricci plays Anna Taylor, who through the majority of the film, might be dead. Liam Neeson plays the funeral director who is preparing her body for burial, and Justin Long plays the less than perfect, and thoroughly misunderstood, would be fiancé to Ricci's Anna.

The film is trying to make a mystery out of the question of whether or not she's dead or whether or not Liam Neeson's character has done something to her, etc. It also makes quite a big deal out of the guilt of the living, and blah, blah, blah. It's honestly not worth going into because because by the time it's over, it doesn't make any sense any way. I disliked every single character in this film, which is quite a feat, because I do my best to give every film I see the benefit of the doubt going in. This one, took that benefit, and beat me over the head with it for ninety minutes.

I'm relatively sure this film is trying to make an existential statement of some kind, but it's narrative is so incoherent, it's never clear enough to make out. There's always the chance that the film maker's were trying to use that sam kind of vague storytelling that helps to establish a sense of unease and mystery. Some films have successfully used that kind of barely sensible, almost speaking to your unconscious more than your conscious mind. If I give the writer and director of this film the benefit of the doubt, then I'd be willing to believe they were trying to attempt to do exactly that. If I weren't giving them the benefit of the doubt, I'd guarantee that making this film in English with this cast was more important to this folks than making a film of actually good quality. It's understandable because had it been made in their native language in the Netherlands, the chances that it would have gotten any release here in the U.S would be extremely slim. The chances anyone would have seen it without these three actors in the lead roles, even slimmer.

I can honestly say that ever single aspect of this film had some serious problems. The screenplay can be blamed for the incoherent mess of a narrative, but everything else has some serious problems as well. Going right on down the line, the cinematography has a Lifetime Movie of the Week feel to it, the set design was either going for minimalist or lazy and unimaginative (which it did achieve if that's what it was trying for), the score is boring at best and annoying at worst.

This film is a waste of good talent and good funding. Seriously, this After.Life never seemed to have any life in it in the first place.

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