Every once in a while a film comes along that makes you say, "What were they thinking?"
"The Aftermath" is one of those films. Set against the backdrop of post World War II Germany it's a film that looks the part of a serious adult drama, but is really nothing more than your guardian variety trashy romance novel that manages to waste the talents of three very capable leads.
Keira Knightley stars as Rachael, who as the film begins arrives in Hamburg to reunite with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), a British officer who is assisting with the rebuilding of the country.
The couple move into a mansion owned by a German widower named Stephen (Alexander Skarsgard) and his teenage daughter.
Rachael is stunned to learn that Lewis has allowed Stephen and his daughter to remain in the house. As the two families try to co-exist under the same roof, Rachael and Lewis begin to have feelings for each other - leading to an affair that threatens to shatter both of their worlds.
I'm not sure this story could have worked in any circumstances, but it certainly fails in "The Aftermath." The whole thing is just a hokey mess with huge plot holes that can't be masked no matter how hard you try. It's a film that begins with a few strains of credibility, but they quickly unravel as the story gets sillier and sillier.
The three leads try, but they are saddled with dialogue that is so corny there is no way to redeem it. You would think Skarsgard and Knightley would have chemistry, but they fail to click, while Clarke is wasted as the husband - his best scene coming way too late in the film.
Without this cast "The Aftermath" could have been a lot worse. As it is, it's just another run of the mill Hallmark channel movie disguised as a major studio release.