John (Ulrik Munther) is picked up by his father (Mats Blomgren) from prison to rebuild and maybe restart their lives. However, the townspeople are not happy that John has returned.
Swedish popstar Ulrik Munther makes his acting debut in this cold minimalist psycho drama. John is released from prison and is taken him by his dad (Blomgren) along with his admiring younger brother Filip. Although the reason to his crime isn’t mentioned until about half way into the movie, you soon forget about the crime and wonder about the person.
Make no mistake, Munther, all cold and solemn is perfect as John, constantly teasing between held down by guilt or psychologically shut off from people. After spending a few years in the can, it’s understandable that he would be a bit withdrawn, even from his own family.
Blomgren adds to the weight as a father just trying to pick up from where they left off, still holding out hopes for his youngest Filip and maybe John can redeem or just move on. Of course it’s easier said than done when the whole school and townspeople don’t want you there. John bravely re-applies to his former school and although accepted by the faculty, his classmates and local bullies aren’t making it easy.
Loa Ek is also the new motorcycle riding girl that becomes interested in John, both being outsiders in their own rights helps them form a bond and through her we find out the truth of his crimes which by then its not about what but why, a question which is never answered but some others are. Which leads us into the townspeople taking a mob like approach.
However, make no mistake, this is minimal at best. Shot by Lukasz Zal, the camera is usually placed behind a window, on the counter, in a door frame and left there for long periods of time while characters could argue and wonder out of frame as their voices become muffled through closed doors. Its great stuff, much preferable to handheld which is being used to death these days.
The Here After is a well made debut from director Magnus Von Horn. Munther is exceptional as the distant protagonist who must and eventually will confront his demons. Not an easy watch for all but an intriguing one at that.