Epic filmmaking is not Clint Eastwood's thing: his masterpieces have all been small-scale dramas with profound moral implications (Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby), while his more ambitious projects (Flags of Our Fathers, Invictus) can seem like anonymous Oscar bait. One couldn't ask for a more epic subject than the afterlife, and this jumbo drama weaves together three different stories from as many continents, but it lacks the toughness of Eastwood's best work. The movie does begin with an astounding special effects sequence: a British TV reporter (Cecile de France) visiting a South Asian beachfront community is engulfed by a devastating tsunami. The second story line, set in San Francisco, is held aloft by Matt Damon's moody performance as a reluctant psychic. The third, about a British orphan searching for the spirit of his dead twin, succumbs to sentimentality, and screenwriter Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon) labors mightily to land all three protagonists in the same frame by the end.
By J.R. Jones