Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Rear Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
James Kent’s feature film debut Testament of Youth was a criminally under rated film that is criminally under seen by most people today. It wasn’t hard to see why he was recruited for yet another World War time movie in The Aftermath, as it is a classic type of British “stiff upper lip” romance blended with war time drama and intrigue, much like Testament of Youth. Albeit, with a bit less material to work with and the plot being a tad thin at times. The Aftermath is a solid romance, based off of the pain of war and loss, culminating in a third act that is a bit too predictable with not enough loose ends tied up to be completely satisfactory. The film is a good period piece for the first 2/3rds, weaving romance, painful drama, healing, and ultimately a happy ending, but the last act struggles to bring everything together believably, and actually had me wishing we had another 20 minutes (in an almost 2 hour film already) to fully flesh out some of these subplots and allow for their conclusions to come naturally.
Based off of the 2013 best selling novel of the same name by Rhidian Brook, James Kent pares down the entirety of the book into a romantic triangle in post WWII Hamberg (Germany). The year is 1945, and the 2nd World War has just wrapped up. Germany is in the middle of being plundered and torn apart by the Allies in an effort to round up the Nazi Party members, and to keep the country from ever rising to that much power again. British officer Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke) and his wife Rachael (Keira Knightley) have moved into the mansion of a deposed German architect by the name of Stephen Lubert (Alexander Skarsgard) and are settling in while Lewis aids in rounding up all of the German troublemakers. Instead of kicking Mr. Lubert and his young daughter Freda (Flora Thiemann) to the work camps, the British officer instead kindly agrees to let the father and his child stay in the upper rooms of the house while they occupy it.
It doesn’t take long to figure out that this is a bit of a tense situation. Lewis is struggling to maintain his humanity while working with German rebels who constantly try his goodwill, and his and Rachael are on the outs as he is running from the fact that his young child was killed during one of the Luftwaffe bombings of London, and Rachael is just begging to be let into his life. When Lewis is sent to the Russian end of Germany as part of his duties, Rachael and Stephen kindle a romance as their pain brings them together. She with the loss of her son and emotional loss of her husband, and he as a grieving widower who suffered a spousal loss during the English’s retaliation bombing of Hamburg. As their passion and romance grows, so does the impending risk as Rachael risks losing more than just her son, and Lewis himself becoming embittered with the German rebels who take what little humanity he has left, leaving him with hate and anguish.
As I said earlier, the film starts out excellently and gets even better, but the film’s biggest problem stems from the fact that director James Kent has a hard time tying all of the sub plots together, and the film ends a bit too abruptly and with not enough closure for some of the side plots. The romance with Rachael and Stephen is built up to fantastically, but the end “twist” comes a bit sharply and could have been enhanced by another 20 minutes of story development fleshing out WHY the changes that occur happen. It’s not a big deal, but the movie does suffer a bit from it.
Rated R for sexual content/nudity, and violence including some disturbing images
• VFX Progressions with optional commentary by Director, James Kent
• First Look
• Feature Audio Commentary by Director James Kent
The Aftermath is a tense romantic wartime drama that has a lot going for it, as well as a few overt flaws. I really liked it for what it was and while I fully admit that the movie has a few pacing issues in the third act, that it very well may get better upon repeat viewings. Much of the acting is done with facial expressions and musical cues (watch the piano scene where we first start to see Rachael’s true pain), and all of the actors do a phenomenal job (Kiera proves that she’s more than just a pretty face from Pirates of the Caribbean). 20th Century Fox’s Blu-ray (sadly no 4K UHD) is stunning, with great video, great audio and a decent array of extras to flesh the package out. Worth checking out if you’re a fan of period piece dramas.
Starring: Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley, Alexander Skarsgard, Martin Compston, Kate Phillips, Fionn O'Shea, Jack Laskey
Directed by: James Kent
Written by: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse, Rhidian Brook (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1, English DVS 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 108 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: June 25th, 2019
Recommendation: Good Watch