Arnold Schwarzenegger is back and this is his best performance ever Discuss this article

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He always said he’d be back. And if the renaissance of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting career has taken a rather long and bumpy road, here – finally – it is. Aftermath isn’t just his best performance in a while it’s his best one ever, period.

On paper this sounds like a million other Arnie movies that have come before, but in truth this is the polar opposite of them. Yes, he plays a man out for bloody revenge, but here he’s driven by desperation and grief, not anger and ammo.

The film takes as its inspiration the true-life story of Russian architect Vitaly Kaloyev, who in 2004 murdered the air traffic controller that he held responsible – incorrectly – for the death of his wife and daughter in a plane crash. Here, Schwarzenegger’s character goes by a different name (Roman) and job (construction foreman) but his tragic arc is the same.

Schwarzenegger is terrific, vulnerable and heartbreaking. While all of his performances since his return from politics – with the exception of the underrated Maggie – have been clunky pastiches of his past persona, here he invests himself in the role to a depth he probably hasn’t in two decades. And, boy, is it worth the wait. He ditches the bazookas and one-liners and trades them for nuance and tears. The result is captivating. The scene where he learns his family has died sees the man-mountain collapse in on himself, and from thereon in he never re-emerges.

It may not be an easy watch, or even a particularly enjoyable one given the subject matter, but fans of Arnie will delight in his long-overdue return to form, and disbelievers will be made to eat their words.

The bottom line
Arnie’s back, with his best performance ever.

By Mark Dinning
Time Out Doha,


  • Duration: 94
  • Released: Thu, 06 Apr
  • Language: English
  • Director: Elliott Lester
  • Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maggie Grace, Kevin Zegers

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