the aftermath

DIRECTOR: james kent (testament of youth)
STARRING: keira knightley, alexander skarsgard, jason clarke, and flora thiemann

 

REVIEWER: emily carter

★★★★

In the aftermath of World War II, a British colonel and his wife are assigned to live in Hamburg during the post-war reconstruction.

The heartbreaking impact of World War II didn't stop on VE Day, and The Aftermath shows the audience just a few of the whys.

 

I am a massive fan of war films. Big sweeping battle scenes and just-as-sweeping emotional arcs - filmmakers have a never-ending source of stories to share in war. The Aftermath just proves it. I was yet to see a movie that's very core is the "after", before seeing The Aftermath. With all the familiar visual devastation of a war film, it brings a new level of the destruction of war to the audience.

 

We're brought along as Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) arrives in Germany to be reunited with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke) - an English commander aiding in overseeing the situation left over in Germany. This situation is a city crumbled to ground, protests and Nazis now seeking revenge. The couple move into a manor once owned by a German architect along with his daughter. The pair are to be moved to a camp to allow the English commander and his wife to live in their home. You immediately feel the strain and discomfort - and our journey through The Aftermath begins.

 

I had made predictions about this film when I viewed the trailer - and they were all very wrong. Your heart softens for those you didn't think it would and you are firmly put in the shoes of three strong characters. Knightley is frustratingly good as Rachael (you'll see what I mean once you view it) - and has a huge character arc throughout the story. She plays the perfect English wife and a staunch English ally. The German architect Stephen Lubert is played by Alexander Skarsgård - a man left with his own war wounds. The biggest surprise for me was Lewis (John Clarke). I won't say much because his performance deserves discovery rather than a spoiler - but he was spectacular.

 

It's very much worth mentioning that this is the first movie in which I've heard an audible sob from the audience. So prepare yourselves.

 

The Aftermath is a fascinating new slant on a WWII film with a formidable cast that cannot be missed.

★★★★

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The Aftermath is available on DVD and digital from all good disc and digital retailers. 

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