Clint Eastwood surprises again with "Hereafter"

Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:23pm EDT
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO (Reuters) - After 50 years in the movie business, Clint Eastwood is nothing if not unexpected.

But his much-anticipated supernatural new movie "Hereafter" about near death experiences is a dramatic departure from his intimate 2004 Oscar winner "Million Dollar Baby" or the actor's grumpy widower in "Gran Torino."

"Hereafter", which combines the visuals of a Hollywood blockbuster and the intimacy of an European art film, got its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday.

Opening with startling scenes of a tsunami roaring through a holiday resort, the movie portrays the lives of three people living in London, Paris and San Francisco that ultimately converge.

Matt Damon plays George, a blue-collar worker trying to cope with his unusual gift -- a connection to the afterlife. Cecile De France is Marie, a French television journalist who writes a book about a traumatic personal event, and Frankie McLaren plays Marcus, a young boy adrift after a great loss.

Eastwood directs from a screenplay written by Peter Morgan, who also departs from the political focus seen in his recent works "Frost/Nixon" and "The Queen".

"Hereafter" is the ninth movie in as many years from the director who made his name playing cowboys in the spaghetti westerns of the 1960s and who went on to become one of the most admired film makers in Hollywood.

Eastwood, now 80, said he hadn't given much thought to whether there is anything after death.   Continued...

<p>Director Clint Eastwood arrives at the gala presentation for the film ' Hereafter' during the 35th Toronto International Film Festival, September 12, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill</p>