The Aftermath

The Aftermath
The Aftermath


Hollywood tends to prefer its characters rather clear-cut – goodies are goodies and baddies are baddies. So the premise of The Aftermath – a well-cast post-war drama – is tantalising in its potential to explore the grey boundaries of human morality.

It’s 1946, the war has just ended and a British woman, Rachael (an always-reliable Keira Knightley), travels to Germany to join her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), a colonel in charge of helping put back together the broken country. “They’re still finding bodies”, he says as scenes of rubble piled the height of double-decker buses pass outside the car window. It effectively, if a little on the nose, sets the scene for the miserable post-World War II setting.

The couple are housed in an unscathed country pile, where architect Stefan (Alexander Skarsgård) and his embittered teenage daughter are preparing to move to an internment camp. Lewis suggests the family move to the top floor instead. This appals Rachael, who can’t fathom living under the same roof as their former enemies – and so the rivalry, bitterness and morality clashes commence.

Instead of becoming a proper interrogation of guilt, collaboration and the toxic legacy of fascism, this scenario spins into a tale of temptation and suppressed grief. It’s quite soapy, but never to the point where it’s unenjoyable.

The story zips by, even if it all feels a little bit superficial and downright predictable. But the acting more than makes up for all that.

The mix of A-listers in the cast have good chemistry with one another. Skarsgård is wounded and willowy with rather dashing taste in mid-century furniture, while Clarke provides the film’s moral compass as a man who might have been a thuggish brute, but who is decent and caring throughout. And we should give a shout out to the costume and set design too, which arguably outshines everything else.

All in all, an eye-catching cast shine in a watchable tale of post-war romance, guilt and hidden secrets.

Post-World War II drama starring Keira Knightley

If you’re a sucker for stellar acting

James Kent

March 21 (18TC)

By Gail Tolley | 31 Mar 2019


The Aftermath
DirectorJames Kent
CastingKeira Knightley, Ned Wills, Pandora Colin