Two strangers' lives become inextricably bound together after a devastating plane crash. Inspired by actual events, "Afthermath" tells a story of guilt and revenge after an air traffic controller's error causes the death of a construction foreman's wife and daughter.
Arnold Schwarzenegger : Roman
Scoot McNairy : Jake
Maggie Grace : Christina
“I would like for someone to say that they’re sorry for killing my family. I want the company to apologize.”
“Aftermath” is the story of a tragic plane crash between two commercial airliners. As a result, there are 271 lives lost. Among them the wife and pregnant daughter of the Russian foreman Roman (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Don’t expect staggering images of the accident with explosive footage and anxiously screaming passengers. The only image you’ll see of the incident is that of Jake (Scoot McNairy) in the control tower looking bewildered at his screen where the two symbols of the particular line flights disappeared. And a short fragment of the place where the wreckages crashed and Roman who succeeded in joining a group of volunteers who gather evidence and locate victims. No, the film focuses on the aftermath (hence the title) and the impact the accident has on the two people involved.
At first, I thought the plane accident was the result of a plot and the phone was deliberately sabotaged. In short, I actually expected a suspenseful thriller where Arnold Schwarzenegger could give someone a piece of his mind. However, don’t expect an action-packed movie. “Aftermath” is a slow-burner in which dealing with loss and guilt is key. A film focusing on central themes like grief and self-pity after a traumatic experience. It’s a thorough character study of two people whose life collapsed because of this tragic accident. But underneath these emotions that feeling of revenge simmers and you wait for that obvious confrontation between the victim and the one who caused all the suffering.
The only thing Roman wants, is someone apologizing and simply saying “We’re sorry”. It’s a collage with images of a mourning Schwarzenegger and Scoot McNairy who can’t handle his fatal error. Their emotional state is the reason why they can’t function properly. Roman hides away and is no longer able to perform anything meaningful. He spends his nights sleeping on the grave of his deceased relatives. Jake retreats into a cocoon of self-pity and reproach. It ends up in an unmanageable family situation and a short-term breakup initiated by his wife (Maggie Grace).
Schwarzenegger once again amazes me with a character role in a drama. Earlier he demonstrated this in “Maggie“. It’s an actor who has his limitations and he won’t be associated quickly with roles where one’s character is more important than brutal violence. Here he proves that he can handle this as good as showing his impressive muscles. The latter is not so evident anymore, considering his age. Not only his face is grooved by age. Also, his butt doesn’t look as tight anymore as seen in a shower scene. Clear evidence that even an infamous action-hero can’t be saved from aging. But the moment he’s sitting opposite some insensible lawyers who talk to him in a disparaging tone, Schwarzenegger shows again how intimidating and imminent he can be. Without a doubt, the most fascinating scene from the entire movie.