I was so glad that New Line decided to go all out on this one, which they don't seem to do often with "smaller" films but this one got the "Platinum Series" treatment.
The video discussion "Before and After The Sweet Hereafter" with Russell Banks, who wrote the novel that this film is based on and it's director, Atom Egoyan is espically interesting with in depth discussions of the film instead of being one of those boring little "promo" docs it actually discusses the film IN DEPTH! The readings from the novel are espically interesting.
I also really enjoyed the short Q&As with the actors on their characters, although they were a little TOO short in my opinion.
The best extra was including the Robert Browning poem, "The Pied Piper of Hamelin." Though I've never really been a fan of the poem,(I think it's seriously creepy, but the film uses it to great effect) it was so important to the film that it would be almost absurd not to include it.
"The Sweet Hereafter" opens with twin tragedies. In a small Canadian town, a school bus accident has occurred which has left 14 children dead. Miles away, a lawyer who would become involved in the bus accident receives a phone call from his estranged daughter. She tells him she is dying. The lawyer's name is Mitchell Stephens (Ian Holm) and he tracks down the parents who lost children in the accident hoping to file a class action lawsuit against the bus company. Stephens is driven to represent the townspeople partly because that is what he does in life and partly to distract him from the situation with his daughter. The town becomes divided over whether to pursue the lawsuit. Eventually, everything comes down to the testimony of one of the accident's survivors. Her name is Nicole (Sarah Polley) and what she says ensures that there will be no winners.
Egoyan's film is as much a commentary on survivor's guilt as it is about the dark secrets a town can hold even though everything appears proper on the outside. It is a film about heartbreak and facades and how life can be so unfair. Yet, the film feels distant. While the various story arcs are well-defined and acted, I found it difficult to become immersed in the world I was watching. The film felt too muted and devoid of an emotional spark.Read more ›
The basic story is about the aftermath of a school bus accident that led to the death of 14 children. An attourney (Ian Holm) then tries to find out who was the responsible for such dramatic and unfortunate incident, looking for clear answers but failing to achieve them.
Was it really just an accident? Why did it happen? Was it that surprising and unexpected? These are some of the questions that the lawyer tries to find answers to, so he starts looking for them in the little, calm and peaceful canadian village where the disaster happened.
As the lawyer`s quest unfolds, Egoyan shows us his motivations, giving a glipse about his relationship with his drug-addicted daughter that he is unable to help.
"The Sweet Hereafter" is a powerful story about loss and frustration in a world where parents can`t seem to help their children, dreams start to fade and hope is destroyed. But it`s also a story told in a realistic and credible way, avoiding easy melodramatic devices and dramatic overacting. Egoyan doesn`t offer a tearjerker session here, given that his approach is subtle, letting hope and reconstruction unfold.
The storytelling techniques are unique, given that the plot development isn`t linear and mixes three different timeframes that are related and co-dependent. The movie also presents an ethereal, hypnotic and dream-like atmosphere, creating a particular and unique feel, although it never loses its realistic elements.Read more ›