About the film
Director: James Kent
Actors: Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley, Alexander SkarsgårdBased on Rhidian Brook’s acclaimed 2014 novel, The Aftermath is an old-fashioned wartime romance bursting with forbidden love, betrayal and honor.
Our stunningly pretty heroine Rachael (Keira Knightley ATONEMENT), arrives in bombed-out Hamburg to join her high-ranking husband, Lewis (Jason Clarke CHAPPAQUIDDICK), a British colonel helping oversee the de-Nazification and rebuilding of postwar Germany.
The couple occupy the grand home of a mysterious, wealthy architect, Stefan Lubert (Alexander Skarsgård, BIG LITTLE LIES) and his daughter. Lewis agrees to let Stephen and his daughter Freda (Flora Thiemann) remain in the house, staying in the service quarters on the top floor. Bad move Lewis.
Rachel, feeling isolated, spends more time with Stefan (with an enviable knitwear collection) and the two are slowly drawn together despite, or maybe because of the emotional baggage of war and loss. Against a very grim backdrop (more bombs hit Hamburg during a single weekend than had fallen on London during the entire Second World War) true love blossoms. There are consequences for the lovers. Their actions aren’t just threatening marriages but are putting lives at risk.
Knightley brings her usual fervent intensity and sensitivity to the role and Jason Clarke is particularly wonderful as the conflicted British officer. He really is a decent sort of chap who suffers inwardly, with all that repressed British emotion.
Franz Lustig’s cinematography is exquisite and given the director is James Kent (TESTAMENT OF YOUTH), it’s not surprising to see succulent costumes, lavish sets, lip-quivering restraint and perfectly fitted jumpers.