Personal loss and tragedy are well-traveled grounds in storytelling. Heck, it plays a major component in Montoya’s story in The Princess Bride. Roman Melnik’s tragedy and heartache is the impetus for the journey in Aftermath.
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Roman Melnik, a loving husband and father. As the film starts, he excitedly heads to the airport to pick up his wife and little girl. As he arrives at the gate to wait for their flight, he is met with surprise and shock. The officials usher Roman into another room to give him the bad news. There has been an accident in flight when his family’s plane collides with another. The news understandably devastates Roman. In the following days, he is offered a settlement from the airline, but nobody apologizes or shows concern for his lost loved ones. Roman is fueled only by the search for an apology and recognition of what he has been robbed of. Even after moving and taking up new work, he can not shake that simple need for acknowledgement.
On the other side of the coin is air traffic controller Jake Bananos. Jake was the controller watching the two planes as they collided with one another. While he isn’t found to be responsible for the accident, he is blames himself and can not shake the guilt. This guilt takes a terrible toll on his life and his marriage. Additionally, the community turns on him and blames him for the deaths of the passengers as well. As a result he is forced to move to another town and take a new job, hoping to piece things back together. Just as he is trying to rebuild his family, Roman is still haunted by his loss. Like the two planes, they are on a course set to collide with one another.
Aftermath is a rather unimpressive film. It is hard to nail down just what makes it so, but it is wholly unsatisfying. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Scoot Mcnairy perform more than adequately in the lead roles. They do a good job portraying the brokenness of their characters following the disaster. The problem is the movie is just unengaging. There is a certain sterility to the film that stunt the power of the performances from affecting the viewer. Additionally the pacing is just off and a little all over the place through the film.
In the end, I honestly don’t understand the need for this movie. It is yet another movie that plucks a tragedy compounded by another tragedy out of fairly recent history. It also in a way takes a side and speculates a bit much beyond what we can conclusively know. And the biggest problem is that the movie doesn’t deliver the power it should and just isn’t the quality it should be. I can’t recommend spending your two hours on this one.
Technical Side: 3.5/5
Aftermath looks and sounds rather good, but not great. A lot of the movie features dark scenes and they mostly hold up. Some detail is lost here and there, but nothing bad. Also, some scenes also feel artificially smooth where some detail has been lost, but overall pretty solid. While the surround does get some action here and there, there are only very few moments that it is really noticed. However the dialog remains clear and the sound effects do get the power they need.
Special Features and Packaging: 2.5/5
Commentary with director Elliot Lester and producer Eric Watson: Not the most exciting commentary. They discuss the strengths of the two lead actors and filming the movie, but there isn’t much memorable here.
Interviews with director Elliot Lester and DP Pieter Vermeer: This doesn’t really break any new ground and is pretty standard behind the scenes interviews with some overlap from the commentary.
Trailer: The movie isn’t worth remembering. Neither is the trailer.
Aftermath comes with relatively standard packaging with cover art that matches the disc and slipcover.
Unfortunately, I find myself watching quite a few Lifetime movies when I visit family. This movie reminds me of something that I would see on one of those visits. As I said earlier, the movie just isn’t memorable.It is filmed competently enough, but some of the choices and the overall storytelling manner don’t carry it through. The disc looks and sounds ok and the supplemental materials are pretty uninteresting. I wouldn’t even recommend renting unless you are interested in the story of what happened. But even at that, this is unlikely a faithful retelling of it. Just pass on this one.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.