Hot off the heels of recent plane crash film ‘Sully’, ‘Aftermath’ is a plane crash movie without a plane crash. This based-on-a-true-story film, follows the aftermath of a horrific plane collision and in particular two separate characters as they deal with the gravity of the situation. Family man Roman (Arnold Schwarzenegger) loses his wife and pregnant daughter and Air Traffic Controller Jake (Scoot McNairy) is branded as a murderer and blamed for the entire incident after watching the incident wide-eyed on his monitor.
The contrasting parallels between the two men and how they deal with their grief should be ground for a decent drama but instead the film dances between the two characters while struggling to gain empathy from the audience. Despite Arny’s best intentions, the subtlety needed to convey a man torn up with rage, despair and grief inside is beyond his ability and as such, the most dramatic moments of the film never quite hit the emotional highs needed. His grit teeth, narrow eyed frown and clenched fists just feel unnatural given the situation. Its a shame because as much as I like Schwarzenegger and respect his work ethic – continuing to do films at the age of 69 – the internal conflict needed to elevate his character doesn’t come to light.
The story itself is okay and there are some good moments of drama sprinkled within this slow paced film but unfortunately these moments are lost to too many drab scenes that ultimately drag the film down. With the excellent ‘Sully’ already establishing how to handle a grief-stricken character after a plane crash, ‘Aftermath’ feels weak in comparison.
Overall, ‘Aftermath’ is a film that could have been a decent drama but instead its slow pace only harms the overall intensity the film is striving for. Its hard to empathise with the characters during their time of turmoil and for this alone, ‘Aftermath’ will not be a film to remember in the years to come.