War, by the nature of the beast, is messy and complicated. So is the aftermath of war.
Rhidian Brook’s 2014 novel, The Aftermath, is set in Hamburg, Germany in 1946. Rachael Morgan’s husband, Lewis is a Colonel in the British army. His job is to rebuild the city was destroyed during the war. Rachael’s reunion with Lewis looks to be a happy one, especially for their surviving son, Edmund.
Their new home is a shocker for Rachael, a mansion that belongs to Stephan Lubert, a widower with a teenage daughter. Instead of sending father and daughter away, Lewis has offered to let them stay in the house. As tensions outside of the house flare up, tensions within the house threaten to burn up all involved.
Before I go any further, I have to state that I saw the movie before I read the book. As with many books when they are made into films, there are changes to narrative and/or characters.
As with the movie, I wanted to like the book. I wanted to get sucked into the story and the drama. Unfortunately, I found the book to be dull at points and was nearly ready to throw in the towel part way in.
In the new movie, The Aftermath (based on the book of the same name by Rhidian Brook), Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke) is a member of the British army who has been charged with rebuilding Hamburg just after the end of World War II. His wife, Rachel (Keira Knightley) is joining him after a prolonged separation. Though their marriage appears to be solid, there are cracks beneath the surface.
Their new home is a villa just outside of Hamburg. It belongs to Stephen Lubert (Alexander Skarsgård), a widower with a young daughter. While Lewis is preoccupied with work, Rachel and Stephen’s relationship changes from antagonistic to romantic. In this political and emotionally charged relationship, old wounds will be opened, personal histories will be revealed and questions about the future will have to be answered.
I am sorry to say that I was disappointed with this film. While it was well done and well acted, it was just missing something. I can’t put my finger on what was missing, but it did have the emotional impact I hoped it would make.