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Aftermath: Arnie Delivers Surprisingly Subtle Performance in Stirring Real-Life Story

  • Arnold SchwarzeneggerKevin Zegers...
  • Action & Adventure
  • Elliott Lester
reviewed by
Marija Djurovic
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Aftermath: Arnie Delivers Surprisingly Subtle Performance in Stirring Real-Life Story

Inspired by a 2002 mid-air collision when Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937 and DHL Flight 611 crashed into each other midair over the town of Uberlingen, Germany, Aftermath arrives to us in the form of a flawed but a relatively dark a thoughtful examination of grief and despair.  Led by Schwarzenegger’s seemingly limited but nevertheless committed low-key performance, Aftermath is a moving drama which, although at times overshadowed by its own gloominess, still manages to evoke a decent amount of empathy and deliver a sufficient emotional punch for those willing to give it a chance.

The story is set somewhere in Ohio and it is centred on Russian immigrant and construction foreman, Roman (Schwarzenegger), who, as the movie opens, is busy preparing to welcome his wife and pregnant daughter – who are flying back from Kiev – home for the holidays. Unfortunately, upon his arrival to the airport, he is informed that their flight has crashed into another plane mid-air and that they, along with everyone else on board, were killed instantly. Roman struggles to come to terms with the fact of their demise and is instantly crippled by the thought of never being able to see his family again. 

Meanwhile, air-traffic controller Jacob Bonaos (McNairy,) who failed to prevent the deadly collision after a brief and seemingly rare moment of negligence, is now coming to terms with his own sense of guilt and shock. Subjected to an emotionally-draining list of inquiries, he is having difficulty coping with his own wife Christina (Grace) and young son Samuel (Nelson) feeling the pressure of his downfall. Roman, meanwhile, soon resorts to anger, all the while refusing to accept the financial compensation from an airline and sets out to find Jacob in order to seek retribution from a man that took everything he had away from him.

It’s important to note that audiences hoping to see the depiction of the devastating crash or the introduction of the passengers on board, will be somewhat disappointed.  The story, written by Javier Gullon, never really bothers to invest in the portrayal of the plane’s physical downfall but instead – as the movie’s title aptly suggests – deals with the devastating repercussions of its collapse. Directed by Nightingale’s Elliott Lester, the story – sporting a moody visual palette – takes its time to unfold with the focus lying on two men who are each dealing with their own versions of personal suffering.

The pace is slow and the despair of the situation is palpable throughout, with Schwarzenegger delivering a remarkably layered performance which, although a little strained, still managed to show that the ex-governor of California is capable of giving much more than we give him credit for.

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Bounce (2000), Flight (2012), Sully (2016)

360 Tip

It has been announced that Arnie, along with Eddie Murphy and Twins’ co-star Danny De Vito, will be returning to the big screen as Julius Benedict in Ivan Reitman’s upcoming comedy Triplets.

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