Hereafter, Neptune and Pisces, Fiddles With Emotions And More

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Robert Phoenix

Robert Phoenix

journalist, blogger, interviewer, astrologer & psychic medium

Hereafter_2Blind date with destiny?

I had a near death experience once, but really can’t quite remember it. I was 18 months and had spinal meningitis. I was so close to the other side that the doctor suggested that they bring in the priest, just to douse me with some redemption and baptize me before my early exit. I cannot verify this with certainty, but that fevered state, days, leading into weeks, fighting the viral contaminants, with ungodly doses of penicillin, brought me very close to an edge and created a type of template that my life has more than less conformed to.

On the heels of the healing, brought to bear by the Episcopalian Father, a night full of prayer, I rose, stumbling about like a foal in an oxygen tent, desperately trying to un-wrench the IV from my ankle, which to this day, has left a scar, resembling some sort of Mayan numeric.

It’s as close to the afterlife, in a physical sense, I’ve had to contend with in this lifetime. The existential death, well that’s another story all together.

Perhaps this is reflected in my Scorpio ascendant, or Mars in the 8th House. At the very least, these two stations and my fevered struggle to stay alive give me some credence to break down “Hereafter” that elegiac attempt by Clint Eastwood, to get us all warm and cozy with the concept of death and the afterlife.

Some critics have tried to make the connection that Eastwood is having to come to grips with his own mortality and that the film is a way for him to make some peace with the process. I encountered something similar with David Bowie when he recorded the melancholic and slightly indulgent, Hours, his bleak look back, wrestling with the demons of middle age, a topic I studiously avoided when I interviewed him. But I think there is something more going on in “Hereafter.” A lot more.

If you do not want to read my analysis, with spoilers, stop right here.

Okay, if you’re still reading this, then I know you’re committed, so we carry on. Right. Okay.

The film opens in a hotel room. A French journalist/presenter, Marie LeLay played by, Cécile De France, is rising from her four-star-suite, overlooking the ocean. Half asleep, her lover requests breakfast and coffee, while she goes out to fetch presents for his kids back home. LeLay is not just a well known TV journalist and investigative reporter she is also a spokes model for a cell phone. Her visage is on hundreds of posters across Paris. We’re not quite sure who she is or why she’s there, but as the film unfolds, it becomes clear that she is there to expose the unfair business practices of French industrialists, exploiting the locals. You know, the usual shit. But her rhapsodic, early morning stroll though streets, with just plain folk gets interrupted by a nasty tidal wave of epic proportions. She finds herself in the midst of “a tsunami.” It’s not clear if it is the one that deviated Thailand and thus past tense or some event in the future. It’s clear though that people die and she is one of them. There is a critical scene in the montage of bodies, cars and animals submerged by the onslaught of ocean water. A young girl she was negotiating to buy a doll from rushes past the camera view. Only half her face and body are shown–the left side–more importantly, the focus is on her “left eye.”

Our heroine is rescued and ultimately resuscitated, but not until she experienced the fuzzy other side.

The second and perhaps most pivotal character in the movie is George Lonegan, or “George Alone Again” played by Matt Damon. George we come to find out is a psychic, a reluctant psychic, a psychic that can commune with the departed. Departed? Hey, that sounds familiar. Anyway, George is wrangled into doing a reading a client (Richard Kind) of his slightly unctuous brother, played to perfection by Jay Mohr. Reluctantly, George makes contact with the spirit of the clients wife. He communicates to him that it is time for him to move on and find new love. He is astonished by the news, especially details that only he would know. This sets the stage for us getting to know George, his gifts and his torment, He cannot have a normal life. Every time he touches someone, he is hit with phantasms and ghosts, unfinished stories and often irreconcilable pain. In this sense, he is an untouchable, a caste onto himself. Once famous for his gifts, he in ow more or less content to live his life doing construction in obscurity–but there is an important factoid built into this as a plot device. George will lose his job and be offered six-months pay for an early out, which will thrust him into his destiny. More about this later.

The third, key player in this other-worldly trilogy isn’t really one person, but two. Twins. These twins are English, living in London and ported by . . . . . They are literally angels, covering for their drunken, junkie, single Mum. Mum is being hounded by social services and the boys know the score. They arrange things to keep social services at bay, while they wake their near comatose mum up, sneak her out and pretend like she was out shopping, bringing her through the front door. much to the chagrin of the very eager social workers.

Her angels have saved her and their reward is for her to get clean. She asks one of the boys to go to the “chemist” and get her prescription for a drug that can help her kick her habit. The other boy says he will do it, which sets up a tragic turn of events.

Here is where I see the first pothole. Since when did drugstores dispense methadone like drugs to kids? Maybe it’s that socialized way of thinking in England, anyway, since you are reading, here comes the next spoiler. The little drug fetching angel is chased by a small group of bullies, who want his drugs. In rush to escape, he dashes across the street and is killed instantly by a passing truck. The other twin was in cell phone contact and heard the whole thing. He is on the streets in minutes, rushing to the side of his dead brother.

The twin motif is fascinating one. Of all the elements in the film, this one carries the most potency and resonance. The Twins of course is representative of Gemini and duality. The twin that lives, cannot seemingly live with the other. Part of himself is no longer in this world and he is frozen. Of course, the nice people from social services are good enough to place his mother in a drug care facility, while he gets placed in a foster home to a family that seems to work closely with social services. In fact their last boy is doing quite well as a “security guard.”

So those are the three scenarios that are set in motion and their lives will intertwine and converge in a way that only a Spielberg production (he was the executive producer) can wrap up in a tight-tinsel-braid. Now let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Each one of our otherworldly triumvirate must reconcile their connection with death. The attractive French journalist has a weekly TV show where she is a bulldog, going after corporate rats of all stripes. While she had a mighty slimy rights violator, a CEO that employed people under unfair and inhumane conditions in her cross hairs, her mind drifts back to the disaster and her death. She becomes less and less involved in her working life, trying to reconcile her moments on the otter side. She takes a leave of absence and shops a book on the seamier side of Mitterand. She gets a green light and an advance, but she cannot pull herself out of her otherworldly reverie and instead of taking on the man, she writes a book about how the afterlife is neglected to the point of it resembling a conspiracy of sorts. She is deemed nuts by her publisher. Her posters come down. She is replaced on the news and her producer boyfriend is fucking her replacement. Here is the irony, get ready for it, here it comes . . . in the eyes of the world, she is more dead than she was when she was dead.

So let us return to the lonely and only twin, now separated from his junkie mom and living with a nice and patient couple that makes a few quid on the side, housing foster boys. He walks around with his brothers baseball cap on in a zombie-like-state. He speaks to no one. It’s actually one of the emotional devices that works in the film. How could it not?

Looking for answers, he swipes 200 quid from his foster parents cookie jar, then sets about visiting as many mediums in London as possible to speak with his brother. It’s a series of slightly comical vignettes as he goes from charlatan to charlatan. However, there is a scene where he is in the underground and his cap gets knocked off and kicked around. He misses the train and as it disappears into the tube, an explosion, then a fireball rips back through the tube and into the station. It’s a terror attack. He missed the train due to the falling hat.

Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, George goes to a cooking class, meets an eager young woman played by Bryce Dallas-Howard and they strike up a friendship. There is a scene where they are tasting different foods that is crazy/sexy. But our man George is burdened by the flesh in a way that you and I are not. A simple brush against someones body reveals flashes of phantasms and ghosts. Then he sees “the truth,” which unfortunately does not bring him closer to happiness, intimacy and love. His new love insists on a reading once she finds out he has special powers and that’s the end of that fledgling romance. in the meantime, George gets laid off. His brother, played to warm and weasily perfection by Jay Mohr wants them to go into business together. George is the psychic and his brother will run the business end. George agrees . . . sort of. Until he decides to take his six-month-payout and travel to, drum roll please . . . London. Okay. Let’s review this for a second.

French reporter dies, experiences after life, turns her back on taking on the injustice of this world, to raise awareness of the next one.

Angelic twin loses brother, then junkie mother and is placed in the hands of really nice social services people and professional parents.

George has the gift but won’t use it. He gets laid off. No problem. He’s off to clear his head.

So here we have the following:

1) As typified by the reporter, the ills of this world matter not, focus on the next one.

2)In the face of death and extreme tragedy, you can trust the kind folks at social services.

3) Getting laid off? No problem. Just get on a jet and go clear your head for a while, while tying up some loose ends of your destiny.

Can you see a pattern here?

While on holiday, our man George loves Dickens and goes on a tour of his house. Through an act of serendipity, he sees that Derek Jacobi is reading excerpts from his new Dickens, book on tape series. It is the 14th of March. Our French reporter now has a book out about death, which she is promoting at the very same fair! The lone twin just happens to be there on that very same day with his fake parents, whose last lad has just landed a fine job as a security guard (economy of control) at the hall where the book fair is taking place.

Their lives are on a collision course . . . of course.

George (Damon) stumbles across Marie giving a reading, buys a copy of her book and has her sign it. He is about to find true love, the one love that does not succumb to his terrible gift. But not just yet. Boy has to lose girl, even if it is just at the end of the film.

After hearing Jacobi narrate Dickens, he leaves the hall, only to be accosted by the lone twin, who knows him from the internet. George does everything in his power to shake the poor kid but finally, he agrees to hook him up with a reading and connect him with his recently departed and dearly missed brother. He does so and the message is that he is not to blame for his death. In his best, rough hewn, dock worker drawl, George says, “sorry kid.” Relieved, the little guy has some romantic advice for George. Go after the “that woman from the fair.” Is George ready to live again? Will he summon the courage to track her down? The answer is yes.

He leaves her a note at her swank hotel and she eventually agrees to meet him on March 15th, “The Ides Of March” which was a day held as a day of worship to the god of war, Mars. The Ides was a festive occasion that was celebrated with parades and a show or Roman strength. It was also the day a seer prophesied Ceasar’s death. Since death is a central theme in “Hereafter” I suppose this would correspond to some sort of slaying the tyrannical ghosts that have haunted both George and Marie. Yes, Hollywood ending in full effect

The young lad visits his Mum in recovery, room 133. There is a pretty interesting site that converts words into numeric values, using Jewish, Old English and Simple Gematria. Essentially, letters are given numeric value. In the case of Hebrew, the numeric value jumps after “J” which is the 10th letter. Everything after that is measured in some units of ten. The site, Gematrix has a library of words that have been entered in and arrive at particular value. For instance, when I typer in “Hereafter” I got “Christ,” “Repent,” “Bloodlines,” {October,” “Alien Attack” amongst others. It should be noted that “Hereafter” debuted on 10/22/10, which if you kept 22 as the master number and broke the tens down to one, it would come out to 33. When one-thirty-three is typed in, it comes out to 990 in Jewish Gematria, which is also curiously enough, the same numeric value as NWO. In the English version, it is 1140 and associated numerically with “Aleister Crowley,” “The United States,” “Synagogue Of Satan” and “Fourth Commandment.” Now of course there are dozens of other words associated with the spelling of that number, but this is a particularly interesting batch.

Lastly, there is of course March, the sign of Pisces, which is 12th sign, Neptune, as typified by the opening scene of the Tsunami, the use of opiates by the drug addicted mother and ultimately cause of one of the twin’s death. George is a longshoremen and works on the docks of San Francisco Bay. Pisces is also life after death, Neptune’s return to the source of the source. Edgar Cayce, the sleeping prophet, the man who spoke with the nearly and dearly departed was also a Pisces. Charles Dickens, a pivotal player in the movie, an invisible catalyst from the beyond actually gave one of his last public readings on March 15th, 1870.

Predictive Programming

As with most, big budget, Spielbergian/Eastwood driven projects, one has to ask the eternal paranoid refrain. Is there a purpose behind this film? Are we being shown things that we have to/will recognize in the future? Tsunamis and Earth changes? Subway bombings? Are we being prepared to embrace death on much more friendlier terms? The possibility does exist, especially when we are being played like emotional violas in “Hereafter.”

In some ways, the film is incredibly manipulative What if the kids weren’t such good kids. What if they were snots and not twins? What if Marie LeLay was named “Shaniqua” and pole danced down at The Pink Mink? What if George was a greedy bastard that used his gifts to run seminars for $1500 for a weekend and had a syndicated TV show to boot? Would we care as much? What if even one of those characters was less than stellar?

Death is one of the most powerful and universal states that links our consciousness together. We have all experienced it on some level and “Hereafter” makes no pretensions about mining the personal and collective history of grief. Is it being done in the service of healing? Does it matter?

The dynamic reminds me of short story by DeMaupassant, where a church filled with people wind up unexpectedly grieving the death of a common whore, not knowing it was her they were exploding into spontaneous, group catharsis over. At the end of the day, did it matter? The village felt closer as a result of their collective grief, even if they were mistaken over who they were grieving for. However, I will say this, I wish they had spent less dollars on the opening disaster sequence and more on making the afterlife look cool, because, at the end of the day, it looked pretty dull and grey and not some place I’d be thrilled about gladly checking into if I had to check out of here. The next time someone does a film on the the hereafter, can someone please make it a little cooler and a little more colorful without slipping into “What Dreams May Come”?

4 thoughts on “Hereafter, Neptune and Pisces, Fiddles With Emotions And More”

  1. b

    Happy turkey thursday Robert…GOD forbid they would make death too inviting …what with the way the world goes and all those toxed out teens with little hope of any meaningful employment…
    love Matt Damon so will see this film…interestingly Matt, George Cluney and Brad Pitt all have Moons conjunct in Cap

    1. a

      Thanks Badger. Great notice on the moons. Of course they do. Pluto in Capricorn, Moon in Capricorn. CFR all the way baby. Poor little boys didn’t get enough of Mommies lovin’.

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