Saturday, December 27, 2014

Eastwood movie pulled from Japan -- digital tsunami too close to the real thing

In the opening sequences of Clint Eastwood's late-2010 release, "Hereafter," a tsunami in a Thai resort - an Oscar-nominated visual effects sequence - looks altogether too much like the real footage and photographs coming from Japan this week.

Eastwood movie pulled from Japan -- digital tsunami too close to the real thing

Marie de France runs from tsunami.
Marie de France runs from tsunami.

Hereafter, the Clint Eastwood-directed meditation on life, death and what-happens-next starring Matt Damon and Cecile de France, was pulled from theaters in Japan this week, in the aftermath of the country’s epic natural disaster.  De France plays a French TV journalist vacationing in Thailand with her lover (Thierry Neuvic), when a huge tsumani rolls in off the Indian Ocean and courses through the streets, toppling trees and buildings, subsuming  cars and market stalls and leaving hundreds of bodies in its wake. De France’s character rescues a child, drowns during the tidal catastrophe, and then is revived by medics.

But for anyone who has seen the film, and then seen footage and photos of the tsunami that hit Japan’s eastern coastline on Friday, the verisimilitude of Eastwood’s CG version is eerie and unsettling. (Hereafter was nominated for a visual effects Oscar, based primarily on these scenes.) Removing the film from theaters in Japan – it opened there a few weeks ago – makes perfect sense. Satoru Otani, of Warner Bros. in Japan, said that the tsunami sequences which open the film with a jolt, were “not appropriate” given the tragic events of recent days.    

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays, and his blog, On Movies Online, can be found here. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Steven Rea's previous blog posts can be found here. Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at srea@phillynews.com.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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