This review was written by Anthony J Digioia. Follow him and his website here for more awesome reviews: SilverScreen Analysis
“Aftermath” stars, Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as, Scoot McNairy and Maggie Grace. It’s directed by Elliot Lester and follows the events that take place after two commercial airliners collide at 8,000 feet. More specifically, it focuses on the lives of two men following this tragic accident. One being Roman played by Schwarzenegger, and man who lost his wife and daughter on the plane. As well as Jake, the air traffic control worker who was on the clock when the accident occurred.
Now I do feel the need to start this review by stating that the trailers for this film do miss-market it. The promo’s give the impression of this as being a more suspenseful, faster paced movie, and that was not the case. This was a drama through and through and despite a third-act that does bring some tension, the focus of the emotional elements to this story never veer off course.
This was something that I felt was a good thing. This was a very engaging film that will pull on your heartstrings and connect you with the characters in a very impactful, and deeply emotional way. This wasn’t the traditional film you would expect from seeing the trailers, or from Schwarzenegger being in the lead.
It was virtually a character study of how two people’s lives can be impacted in different ways from the same incident. The script didn’t deliver the incident then the common story of revenge that you would expect with a clear good guy and bad guy. You can sympathize and connect with both men who were on opposite sides of this tragedy and it resulted in a very engaging film as both men’s lives fall apart in their own different ways.
The acting from top-to-bottom was excellent and the performances deliver what this story needed for it to hit its emotional mark with the intended dramatic impact. Arnold Schwarzenegger was awesome in this role and shows he has developed some range over the years. He conveys the pain and agony of a man who lost his family with a surprising believability, and without his performance, this film would not have been as gripping and thought-provoking as it was.
Scoot McNairy was also fantastic in this movie and he pours himself into the role. Like the character of Roman played by Schwarzenegger, his life was changed forever. He didn’t lose his family the same way Roman did, but he did lose them in a sense. He lost his place in the work and was truly torn and broken from the guilt he felt.
This accident wasn’t necessarily caused by his negligence yet he took the full grunt the blame and after that shift at work, his life, like Roman’s would never be the same. This was all captured in a very intriguing way with a story that sets up the characters very early on, giving you a glimpse of who they were prior to the accident.
By the time the first-act concludes the tragedy occurs and from there on out the story dives into lives of these two characters. Now I will admit the pace slows a little too much. It doesn’t lose its intrigue, or ability to grasp your attention but it did feel like a crawl later in the second-act. Yet with the performances, seeing Schwarzenegger out of his normal routine and McNairy also commanding attention with his scenes, the entertainment wasn’t hindered too much.
Another minor issue with this movie was during the third-act. Now without going into spoilers I will say that during this entire film the drama and emotional connections were created in a very natural way. So, when the third-act takes a couple unnecessary turns it was noticeable and does come off a little melodramatic. But regardless it does deliver some effective tension.
Schwarzenegger was surprisingly capable in this dramatic role. It was a compelling story that was well directed and succeeded in generating a lot of thought using silent imagery, and not relying on dialogue the entire time, and would recommend this movie to fans of drama’s like these, or of Schwarzenegger, because he changed it up in this one and it was for the better.