The Sweet Hereafter

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Atom Egoyan

REVIEWED: 02-08-99

Despite the most overwhelmingly positive praise a movie can get, two Oscar nominations, and a well-respected leading man, The Sweet Hereafter never mustered more than $4.3 million at the U.S. box office, proving pretty definitively that yes, Americans are by and large uncultured louts. Categorically, Hereafter was one of 1997's most compelling films, no surprise considering the astounding body of work already produced by Canadian auteur Egoyan. Since his breakthrough with 1994's Exotica, Egoyan has continued to hone his craft. Three years later, a breathless film community awaited his follow-up. Few have been disappointed. With The Sweet Hereafter, Egoyan continues his well-established method of following one story at multiple times. In this film, it's the tragedy that begins -- and gets worse -- after a school bus careens off an icy road (a chilling "special effect" one critic called the best of the year) in a sleepy town in the Great White North. When lawyer Holm swoops in to build a negligence case against the bus manufacturer and the city, he becomes the unwitting agent as the revealer of the dirty secrets that everyone within seems to hide. The interplay among plot lines and the ultimate resolution of the film will leave you breathless. However, for my money, Exotica is a slightly better film because of Egoyan's use of a final, unifying conclusion that suddenly pops every piece of the puzzle into place. You can see the inevitable ending of Hereafter coming at you like a ton of bricks, and when it hits, it hurts.

--Christopher Null

Full Length Reviews
The Sweet Hereafter
The Sweet Hereafter
The Sweet Hereafter
The Sweet Hereafter
The Sweet Hereafter
The Sweet Hereafter

Capsule Reviews
The Sweet Hereafter
The Sweet Hereafter

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