It’s 1946. World War II has ended and to the victors goes the spoils. The winning British are in Germany governing the losing Germans. Colonel Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke) leads the British efforts to bring order to the city of Hamburg. Morgan’s wife, Rachel (Keira Knightley) arrives from England where the two reunite to begin their post-war lives together. The British government, as it has a right to do, takes over a mansion owned by a German architect, Stefan Lubert (Alexander Skarsgård). This becomes the colonel and his wife’s new home. There are camps set up for displaced Germans like Lubert, a widower, and his daughter who resides with him. However, Morgan, much to his wife’s chagrin, allows the Luberts to stay in the mansion’s attic. From that point “The Aftermath” begins, with the characters confronting a range of conflicts and challenges.
“The Aftermath” succeeds not because it’s an exceptional production but because it’s a refreshing change from current film experiences. It’s a period piece, and with the recreation of the setting—war-torn Germany—the story is highlighting the continued hostilities between the forces even though the war has officially ended, giving the movie a value, which underlies the main storyline.
The character conflicts are real and compelling. Lewis and Rachel debate a loss they suffered. Stefan tries to convince his daughter that they are actually lucky to be in the attic. Then there’s tension between Rachel and Stefan. Lewis is often away from home carrying out his military duties. So one has to question his leaving Rachel in the mansion with the taller and better-looking Stefan.
Each of the lead actors proffers strong performances. Ultimately, “The Aftermath” comes together in an entertaining and even rather educational way. And it gets our highest rating: See It!
It’s rated R for sexual content/nudity, and violence including some disturbing images and is 108 minutes in length.