Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director James Kent and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is war and THE AFTERMATH.
It is 1946 and the war with Germany is over. Colonel Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke) of the British Forces has been assigned to Hamburg and brings wife Rachael (Keira Knightley) as well. Col. Morgan has been assigned with helping to rebuild the city while also handling the problem of German insurgents who aren’t happy about their presence.
The home of architect Stephen Lubert (Alexander Skarsgård) has been requisitioned for the Morgan’s. Trying to keep the peace, Lubert moves himself and teen daughter Heike (Anna Schimrigk) into the attic of the house after Col. Morgan allows them to stay.
Rachael is furious about the Lubert’s continuing to stay as she believes her reasons are sound. Having lived through the Blitz bombings in London, not everyone in her family was as lucky.
Heike is also angry feeling that no one has a right to be in their home. Her anger causes a few missteps that are based on the same anger as Rachael’s. Little does each family realize, but their pains are not so dissimilar. Col. Morgan is sent all over to deal with city problems and while gone, Rachael and Stefan start a dangerous relationship.
Every bit of what is happening is because Rachael can not find her way, can not get through the pain and can not understand why her husband doesn’t see it.
Knightley as Rachael is a woman who isn’t happy about being in Hamburg, isn’t happy about the Lubert’s stay and isn’t happy about the state of her marriage. Continuing to put on a brave face, it becomes more and more difficult as Col. Morgan refuses to see what is in front of him. Knightley gives a performance that is strong but slowly melts into another kind of strength. This is a character she is known for, keeping it all together until a moment of self discovery.
Clarke as Col. Morgan has managed to hide everything from his wife. Making decisions in Hamburg that go against her wishes, he shows compassion for the German people and wants Rachael to do the same. What she doesn’t know is that his work is dangerous which he needs to hide his own pain. Clarke portrays his character with a steel grace that begins to crack.
Skarsgård as Lubert is a man who doesn’t want to make waves and is willing to surrender his home to Col Morgan. Dealing with his own losses and a daughter who feels betrayed, Skarsgård keeps his character centered and doesn’t give much away. Personally I wouldn’t be thrilled if someone took my home all the while forgetting that not all Germans were Nazi’s.
Schimrigk as Heike is a young girl who doesn’t want to be comforted about her home and the life that was once hers. Not understanding why her father takes everything in stride, she finds herself tempted to go against the grain of everything post war.
Other cast include: Jack Laskey as Wilkins, Kate Phillips as Susan, Martin Compston as Burnham, Rosa Enskat as Greta, Frederick Preston as Michael, Flora Thiermann as Freda Lubert and Fionn O’Shea as Barker.
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The Bluray and DVD Special Features include Deleted Scenes, VFX Progressions, First Look, Audio Commentary by Director James Kent and Gallery.
Rhidian Brook wrote the book The Aftermath as well as The Testimony of Taliesin Jones, Jesus and the Adman and The Killing of Butterfly Joe. He has also dabbled in television with the 2005 broadcast of Mr. Harvey Lights a Candle, the series Silent Witness and the drama Atlantis.
THE AFTERMATH is the story of people after tragedy. If you scrape away the war from the surface of the story, what you see is the lives of people on a deeper level. Personal pain is universal and the four people in the Lubert’s home are all dealing with that with the added strain of post war in a torn up Hamburg.
The paths that are taken by each character are based on the confusion of their lives. Everything has been shattered and it is difficult to remember what life was like before war and what to do with life after.
In the end – the city isn’t the only thing shattered!