Cinematic Releases: Aftermath (2017) Reviewed

Arnold Schwarzenegger is on a path to cinematic redemption. 

Late in the game of his decades long career, he's abandoned the franchise films that have defined his existence and has even bailed on all sequels to his previous works. This week, word came down that he's no longer doing another Expendables entry and the latest Conan has been scrapped. And the next Terminator still lies in flux as the studio has abandoned plans for the next two movies in the Genisys trilogy. 

This leaves Arnold in a new place, ready to expand his horizons as a dramatic actor.Instead of continuing to remain stagnant as an action icon in a dying breed of film, Arnold has decided to find a path that allows him to stretch his legs as in a fashion that's more focused on creating dynamic characters that don't need to carry heavy artillery to deliver a plot. Aftermath is a shining example of this older star finding a way to create art behind the curtain of a harsh reality that mirrors our own. His performance as Roman reflects the same powerful emotion he conveyed in 2015's Maggie. After years and years of playing the heavy handed, muscle bound hero, Arnold switches gears without blinking an eye, calling into question his decision to not do this sooner. 

When his family is killed in a mid-air collision, Arnold's character becomes obsessed and seeks closure for the tragedy. His search for an apology leads him to lawyers, corporate middlemen and the air traffic controller that caused the accident. When no one sympathizes with his loss, Roman can't cope. Arnold perfectly conveys the hardships of loss by giving audiences a breakthrough role that seriously shows he's not a one trick pony. Backed up by the hyper talents of Scoot McNairy, the game is set for a dramatic film that simply cannot end well. Maggie Grace and Martin Donovan also star in support roles. 

Why didn't I do this sooner?

Aftermath is a poetic piece of cinema that shows us how reality can swiftly change our lives for the worse without a single ounce of compassion. This movie takes us through the stages of grief and also tasks us with the exploration of consequences in the face of death. Aftermath is cold and dense as it shows us how a loving father may not accept the cards that he's been dealt. This movie also shows us the painful side of personal choice when we're faced with the fact the world continues to revolve even when we've lost everything. 

It's nice to see that Arnold Schwarzenegger has something fresh to say even as he's getting up there in age. Of all the things he's done over his career, this is probably the most human role he's ever played. And he does it well.