The Aftermath is rather perfunctory in its portrayal of a loyal dutiful wife (Keira Knightley), an upright British colonel (Jason Clarke), and a German architect (Alexander Skarsgard). The colonel and his wife take over the architect’s huge home in post WWII Hamburg. The architect and his daughter along with a maid and cook are allowed to stay on and serve. This is the aftermath of war. There is also sadness. We slowly find out that the couple’s young son died in the war from a house bombing. The architect’s wife died from a bombing. Bitterness reigns in a very tense household.
But there’s also a lustful undercurrent. Even as she resents the Germans, she also plays with fire in her unhappiness. Face it, Skarsgard is hot. Clarke is gone – off to work. Temptation reigns supreme.
Keira Knightley can act with her eyes. She’s soulful. She’s empathetic, sympathetic, and smoldering all in one glance. Oh, there’s trouble in a very cold forbidding atmosphere. Lust bubbles slowly.
All of the acting is good, and Knightley could do period pieces in her sleep, but she doesn’t. She keeps us interested in her character and adds layers as the movie moves along. The Aftermath could have tightened things up a bit. I admit I checked my watch. Also, my friend I saw this with said there was way more to the story based on the book. The editors definitely slashed and made it a “love” story of sorts.
I liked the movie, BUT must give reservations. It’s slow. It’s got issues. It’s okay to wait and maybe catch it on a slow night when nothing else is on. That’s just how some films go. But Knightley is a gem and I shall support her income.