Lee Anderson, Assistant Manager at Regal Picturehouse, Henley-on-Thames, reviews this week’s Discover Tuesdays title: The Here After.
Director: Magnus von Horn.
Starring: Ulrik Munther, Mats Blomgren, Wieslaw Komasa. Sweden/Poland/France 2015. 102 mins. Swedish with English subtitles.
From the outset director Magnus von Horn plunges you into the life of John (Ulrik Munther), a young man who has served a two-year prison sentence for killing his girlfriend.
The film picks up the story from the moment he is released, and documents his return to his family and the local community where the dreadful crime happened.
John has lost touch with his friends and family during his years inside and because of the shock of the crime. You instantly feel that this is a community that has not forgotten and will not let John forget what he has done. Neither will they forgive him, as becomes apparent during the movie.
The Here After is a tale about emotionally disconnected people. Von Horn likens the experiences to a kind of illness that has permeated the community and its environment for generations, culminating in the murder of a young woman. This devastating event propels the films protagonists to take blame upon themselves, although they are devoid of responsibility, and would never admit to feeling this.
John’s father Martin and brother Filip are of course happy to have him back. Again, however, it seems that these relationships are broken, and no one can quite bring themselves to discuss what has happened. This is reflected in the uncomfortable silences that linger between them all, until the moment that his father has to speak out and finally tells John the truth: he did not want him to come home after all.
When John is out shopping with his family, a chance encounter with the mother of his deceased girlfriend results in unexpected aggression. Later he has a run-in with his old school friend, Kim, who has decided to take matters into his own hands and beat John up. It becomes clear that John’s actions have had a major impact on everyone around his community, and they are simply unable to move on. This prompts him to return to the home of his dead girlfriend, armed with a shotgun and ready to end his life…
Times+ members can discover stunning cinema by visiting www.ourscreen.com/discover
Every day MUBI’s in-house experts hand-pick a beautiful new film and you have 30 days to watch it. £4.99 a month with the first month free for Picturehouse customers. mubi.com/picturehouse