The Aftermath ★★★☆☆ | Movie Review


In post World War II Germany a British Colonel and his wife are assigned to live in a lavish house in Hamburg but tensions arise with the previous residents.


Is there a period piece that Keira Knightley has ever turned down? After seeing her in Colette I retrieved her from the Nutcracker trash can I'd thrown her into and actually looked forward to whatever I was going to see her in next. I sort of wish it hadn't been this film though.

I'm conflicted. The Aftermath has some great pieces, but at the same time it's rather forgettable. Talking to a friend about films I'd seen this month I already forgot I'd seen it, and that doesn't normally happen this quickly.

Having seen the trailers I had come away with a rather definite idea of what the film was going to be like... I was actually surprised, the wool was properly pulled over my eyes. I had a completely different idea of the outcome. I really don't want to spoil it, if you've seen it message me and we'll waffle about it.

Alexander Skarsgård was incredibly good in this, I think I might be in love. I haven't seen him in anything recently but I might have to finally watch Tarzan. For the most part Stephen is a restrained and sensible character, so when he has an outburst of emotions it's all the more powerful. When he shows the Morgans round his house like a sad estate agent I felt that awkwardness.

Keira Knightley/Rachel isn't the leading lady I was looking for, as a character she is dislikeable. She's quick to judgment and takes for granted and abuses all the privileges that she has. I think this is partly what surprised me about the film, I hadn't expected her to be this way. In a film involving war I wouldn't have expected the female character to be the antagonist.

I'm pleased to see Jason Clarke again, he's going from strength to strength. Lewis Morgan is warm and accepting in contrast to the coldness of his wife. More strong emotions coming from our other male lead. Most feel like they're done perfectly, one outburst stuck out but I'm not sure that "out of character" is quite the right way to describe it.

The movie's handling of the Morgan's son was done nicely with a great link used to tie it together. Getting such a powerful moment out of such a small detail was amazing. The use of prop and flashback scenes came together very well.

The ending though... like the trailer I like that we're given something that doesn't necessarily hold with the expected. (Again, if you've seen it then message me so I can tell you how I wanted it to end.) I can't say I was happy with the end, it flies in the face of the traditional take on these sorts of films. There's an ending I would have preferred Rachel to have over the actual one just so that I could go "Ha! Serves you right!" but it wouldn't have been satisfactory for the other two points of the triangle. I'm not sure that any outcome could have left me content though.

There are some very striking visuals mixed through the film, most take part in the ruins of the city where we see the community living through the devastation of the city. I was intrigued to see that it was a BBC film, they usually have a certain feel to them but it wasn't really present in this.

As much as I enjoyed elements of this I can't say I would be fussed about seeing it again, if anything I think a second watch would remind me how annoying I found the ending.

What you should do

If you want to see Keira Knightley's character disrespecting her marriage then I would suggest watching Colette instead. However, if you want to have some strong feelings about Alexander Skarsgård then definitely see this one.

Movie thing you wish you could take home

It goes without saying that I would like Alexander Skarsgård, but failing that then the ability to play the piano beautifully will have to do.