Director: Elliot Lester | Run time: 90 minutes | Signature Entertainment | On sale 19th June
Aftermath tells the story of two strangers, Roman Melnyk, (ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER) a construction foreman, and Jake Bonanos, (SCOOT MCNAIRY) an air traffic controller, whose lives become inextricably bound together after a devastating plane crash that resulted in the deaths of Roman s wife and daughter.
For a revenge movie this is different to the norm. For a start, nearly all of the run time is dedicated to Schwarzenegger’s role planning his revenge or seeking down the person he is after. Then, in the final moments, it happens.
Compared to the rest of the feature it is abrupt and alarming. The whole story has built to this and when it happens it still shocks. Credit to Elliot Lester for having the patience to tease this out and allowing the tension to mount. It is brief and to the point. Those expecting Arnie in a blood soaked and action packed revenge flick like those of his past will be shocked by this departure for the star.
Not only is the nature of the film different for Arnie but his acting and appearance here is a break from the norm when it comes to his CV. He is serious, the role being totally non-macho and non-hero like for him. He spends many of his scenes with a scowl and looks like a broken man. Rarely does he display any other emotion (a criticism levelled against him in the past admittedly, but for different reasons). His appearance is shabby and unshaven, the ageing star not hiding behind the usual post production tricks to improve his looks.
Schwarzenegger has of course done other ‘serious’ acting in recent years although Aftermath is so far down this new path of his career it’s startling. It will be interesting to see what he does next…
Aftermath is released in the UK almost fifteen years after the events that inspire the movie took place. On 1st July 2002 two planes collided mid-air over Uberlingen, Germany, killing all on board. Vitaly Kaloyev, whose family died in the crash, tracked down the air traffic controller on duty at the time of the crash, Peter Nielsen, and killed him. This is the revenge that Arnie’s role seeks throughout the feature.
Aftermath ends on an entirely fictional scene, ignoring the difficulties Kaloyev faced after leaving prison for Nielsen’s murder (he was sentenced to eight years). Various names and even nationalities have also been changed.