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The Aftermath

Opening Date
14 Mar 2019
R21 Sexual Scenes
109 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Drama, Romance, War
James Kent
Alexander Skarsgård, Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke
THE AFTERMATH is set in postwar Germany in 1946. Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) arrives in the ruins of Hamburg in the bitter winter, to be reunited with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an unexpected decision: They will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower (Alexander Skarsgård) and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal.
By Hoai  14 Mar 2019
Adapted from Rhidian Brook’s novel, the film has enough material for a compelling wartime romance, especially paired with a strong performance from the main cast.
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Set against the backdrop of post-WWII Germany, THE AFTERMATH brings Rachael (Keira Knightley) – an English woman – to Hamburg to reunite with her husband Louis (Jason Clarke) – a colonel in the British army tasked with rebuilding efforts. To Rachael’s dismay, she and her husband are to share their house with its previous owner – German architect Stefan Lubert (Alexander Skarsgård) and his teenage daughter Freda (Flora Thiemann) until they are cleared to leave the country.

Adapted from Rhidian Brook’s novel, the film has enough material for a compelling wartime romance, especially paired with a strong performance from the main cast. Unfortunately, a skimpy plot that rushes through smaller details to get to the main plot points has squandered any such potential.
The film starts off fine as tension is established as soon as Rachael arrives at the house: the awkwardness and lack of intimacy between Rachael and her husband, as well as her discomfort around Lubert. However, the film does little to explain how the almost hostility between Rachael and Lubert so quickly turns into romance to the point that he asks her to leave the country with him and his daughter.

Without enough scenes and plot details to warrant this level of love and commitment, the affair feels staged and elicits little empathy from the audience. The jarring difference in Rachael’s attitude before and after they get together is almost distasteful. Adultery is a tricky topic to broach and the plot does Rachael a disservice by not offering enough justification for the affair. Her backstory about the dead son comes too late to make her a more compelling and sympathetic character.
The film also underutilises the WWII subplot, sprinkling in scenes of protests that fade into the background and serve little purpose. The underground Nazi activities and Freda’s relationship with a Nazi youth, who subsequently attempts to kill Louis, could have a much bigger impact on the main plot if it was explored further. As it is, it fizzles out and the assassination gets resolved too quickly for what is supposed to be the climax of the film.
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