Friday, July 28, 2017

Review of AFTERMATH: Double Dose of Depression

July 27, 2017

Arnold Schwarzenegger gained fame in the 1970s as a bodybuilder. He was, and still is, the youngest person to ever win Mr. Olympia, when he snared the major title in 1973 at the age of 23. He went on to win Mr. Olympia six more times -- the last one in 1980, when he was already in training for his big screen debut as "Conan the Barbarian" (1982). 

After the success of "Conan," Schwarzenegger became an action superstar of the 1980s in films like "Commando" (1985), "Predator" (1987), "Total Recall" (1990), "True Lies" (1994) and his signature role as "The Terminator" (1984) and its subsequent sequels (1991, 2003 and 2015). He also made a number of successful comedies like "Twins" (1988), "Kindergarten Cop" (1990) and "Junior" (1993). 

As his acting career waned in the 2000s, Schwarzenegger turned to politics. Like fellow actor and Republican Ronald Reagan before him, Schwarzenegger became the Governor of California from 2003 to 2011. Unlike Reagan though, he could not run for the Presidency even if he wanted to because he is not a natural born American citizen. After this political stint, Schwarzenegger returned to acting.

Schwarzenegger is already pushing 70 by July 30 this year. He has slowed down and could not do his former intense action hero stunts anymore, as can be seen in his comeback efforts like "Expendables 2" (2012) and "3" (2014) (MY REVIEW) and "Escape Plan" (2014) (MY REVIEW). He is expanding his range to drama now, like the post-apocalyptic drama "Maggie" (2015) (MY REVIEW), and now this new one this year.

Flight AX122 from New York City collided with another plane in midair and crashed. This film followed the experiences of two men whose lives were shattered by this tragedy. Construction foreman Roman Melnyk had his wife Olena and pregnant daughter Nadiya on board that ill-fated plane. Air traffic controller Jacob Bonanos was the one on duty at the tower when the accident happened. 

People expecting some action from Schwarzenegger will be disappointed. His character Roman was passively just waiting for an apology for the whole duration of the film while he slept at the foot of his loved ones' graves. He did spring to life for that one split second in the final act, but the violence of that key scene felt neutered as it was bathed in eerie silence. Like he was in "Maggie," Schwarzenegger was subdued and restrained all the way.

Playing the embattled airport official Jacob is character actor Scoot McNairy. He had been in films consistently since 2001 in minor supporting roles until this one puts him up there in a major role, and he made the most of this opportunity. His features are nondescript enough to render him open to play any character. Here, McNairy's gaunt face reflects the inner turmoil of guilt that was eating up the very soul of his character. I just wished the writer had given this character a different fate.

Aside from a short gratuitous funny scene of Schwarzenegger taking a shower that we did not really need to see, the mood of this  film was relentlessly morose given the very tragic event that caused all the heavy drama to ensue. There were very long stretches of running time that were devoid of any dialog, with director Elliott Lester letting sad images and maudlin music sell the story. The double dose of depression we get from the two threads of this film can be too much to bear. 4/10. 

No comments:

Post a Comment