review by Drusilla Blakey
When I first say the trailer for this film, I was instantly intrigued. I am a fan of period pieces and also of Alexander Skarsgard, so was excited to give it a shot. As the movie starts, we find we are in Post WW2 Germany. The city is in complete ruin and although the war is over, tensions are still high, as rebuilding is underway. We are immediately introduced to Kera Knightly's character, Mrs. Morgan who has arrived in Germany to be with her husband, a Colonel who is there to help with the rebuilding. The Morgan's move into a house previously owned by Alexandar Skargard's character, Stephen, as many German's are now losing all their property. And thus, our triangle is complete as shown in the trailer.
What the trailer doesn't show you is that in addition to us dealing with 'the aftermath' and rebuilding of the city, all the people there are also dealing with the same trauma of having gone through war. I do wish that we had spent a bit more time on the people of Germany in the film. I understand that the movie is about our three main characters, so we are only shown a small glimpse of the undeserved hardships the people here are suffering through. As so many lives touched by war, these people now have no housing, no food, no money, a government in turmoil, etc. It is truly a disaster zone.
The other layer of the film is the story of Stephen who is dealing with his own loss and trauma. He is suffering his own 'aftermath' having lost everything during the war. His trauma is personal, his loss is profound and it's even tangible as he goes from being an architect to a factory worker, his house is given away, and he's losing touch with his own daughter. Literally everything he has is stripped away and we see a broken man who forces a smile on his face. As I watched him on screen, his depth of sadness, loss, depression and need for something to bring back a spark to his life is clearly evident. He gave a powerful performance with very little dialog; he is such an amazing actor!
The next layer of the film is the story of the Morgan's. Mrs. Morgan is dealing with her own loss and you see that Colonel Morgan refuses to deal with it. I'm not a huge fan of Knightly, but she did give a very good and dramatic performance. Her level of trauma and the 'aftermath' she is dealing with is also very profound. It has affected her entire life and everything she does to the point where she has isolated herself. She has essentially stopped living and is seeking a way to start again.
Throughout the movie, we do see each character begin to deal with their issues and slowly start to move forward and rebuild just as the city does in the background. I thought it was a super interesting way to deal with the subject matter and it kept the movie interesting. Because, the unfortunate thing is that the movie is bit slow at times. I had already anticipated this as it just seemed that way from the trailer, and typically period dramas are like this. So if you're not into slow, emotionally driven movies, this may not be the film for you. However, if you enjoy good storytelling and amazing dramatic performances, then I would encourage you to check this film out.
In addition to the film this release includes bonus content including commentary, deleted scenes, gallery, and featurettes taking you behind bring this film to life. Grab your copy of Aftermath available now on Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.