The Aftermath Review

Keira Knightly has gone on record stating that says she doesn’t like modern-day movies for the way they portray women and for regularly featuring themes of sexual abuse.

The actress has revealed she much prefers period pieces when selecting her roles because the women are treated much better.

“I always find something distasteful in the way women are portrayed, whereas I’ve always found very inspiring characters offered to me in historical pieces,” she continued, before adding that she’d only recently started to see some progress in the portrayal of present-day women in upcoming film projects.

“There’s been some improvement. I’m suddenly being sent scripts with present-day women who aren’t raped in the first five pages and aren’t simply there to be the loving girlfriend or wife.”

I would also add that when Keira does venture into the present day, we tend to either end up with Domino which is still one of the worst films I’ve  ever seen or Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit which… well… basically boils down to a ‘charisma contest’ between Chris Pine and Kevin Costner. The audience lost.

Back to The Aftermath and we find… well… stop me if you’ve heard this before. A woman trapped in a marriage so dead that if it appeared on  screen you would instinctively aim for the brain, falls for the lodger who is the most perfect man alive, single handily raising a daughter in a pretty tough environment and then she has to chose between THE MOST PERFECT MAN ALIVE and her dutiful husband who’s never home because of his job and the distance between them of their sadly deceased child which they haven’t even begun to process.

It’s mostly shot in this big, beautiful house (due to having that can barely stretch to a ham sandwich) and it looks gorgeous- in fact, it looks a little too gorgeous, cut out any thirty seconds of Knightley and BOOM, there’s your perfume ad.

The musics amazing as well, pretty much played on a single piano it’s affecting and heartbreaking and I seriously hope that it wins an award or a nomination for something except it won’t because this film is that most tragic of films, an awards bait film which missed awards season.

A moment of silence.

Moving on.

The leads are all fantastic, the film looks amazing, great soundtrack… I mean love triangle films aren’t really my thing but I really enjoyed that aspect of the film. But there was something that I didn’t fall in love with… Something to do with the husbands job… I mean it’s only the B plot, which the film gives so little attention to it may as well be the E plot… What was it now…

Oh yeah, he’s the colonel of the British Forces Germany charged with rebuilding Hamburg because this film is set in Germany in 1946. Which means that whilst Knightley is deciding whether she wants to ‘make sequels’ with a guy who was in Terminator Genysis  or the guy who was in that Tarzan movie maybe 4 people saw he’s off rebuilding a country which was literally ground to dust and has a population surviving off of 900 calories a day if their lucky, not only does he have to deal with that task, playing nicely with the Americans and Russians (and their quickly cooling relationships) he’s also dealing with the 88’s – a group of fanatical Nazi’s who don’t quite seem to have twigged that the war is over and that they lost.

Not only that, but when he get’s home he has to deal with the gentleman who’s house he ‘borrowed.’ Was he just an architect as he claims? Or was he something more? Does he hold a grudge against the killing of his wife in the utterly horrific bombing that the city sustained? What about the daughter? Is he a spy for one of the other factions? So many questions that the movie simply isn’t interested in.

Seriously, this film, set in a period of history that I’ve literally seen so much as referenced before has no interest at all in exploiting or even delving into the questions that it’s setting raises or the opportunities it creates. Strip out the whole ‘rebuilding of a nation subplot’ and make the guy a banker who’s wife is lusting after the gardener in London in the `920’s and nothing changes. The daughter being seduced by an 88 and potentially being recruited into spying on arguably the most important man in 500 miles? Barely a whisper of a mention in the main plot which is so glossy and beautifully shot that it seems to be in a different film completely to the gritty shades of grey drama that one of it’s main characters is going through. Forget a cohesive narrative, this film plays like the wife and I are fighting over the remote when she wants to watch some terrible romantic drama and I want to watch an awesome gritty spy drama.

The Aftermath is a surprisingly racy, beautifully shot and scored bog standard love triangle film awkwardly sharing screen space with a gritty look at a relatively neglected area of history. The main actors are good, the support cast is missing Rachel McAdams but works well enough. It sounds and looks amazing but it just doesn’t work as a whole film. The love triangle works in it’s own fairly bland way but it doesn’t mash at all with it’s far more interesting sub-plot about rebuilding Germany after World War 2.

Talk about a missed opportunity.

My Score- If Nothing Else