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After Image (2001)
A beautiful, intelligent film.
Robert Manganelli's After Image employees an extraordinarily rich cinematic palette. Relying on a sophisticated use of sound and image, often working on different expressive planes, After Image brings together two characters at crossroads in their lives. Joe, understatedly played by John Mellecamp, is a crime scene photographer who can no longer find meaning in his difficult career and decides to return to his childhood home. Laura, beautifully played by Terrylene, is a deaf woman who experiences premonitions. Her most recent visions bring her physically and spiritually close to Joe as they attempt to find and stop a vicious serial killer who preys on the innocent.
There are a number of points that should be brought out. As director, Manganelli is in complete control of his medium and knows from scene to scene, moment to moment, where to lead an audience. Moreover, the subtle undertones of this film, slowly developed in rich poetic ways, makes it so much a cut above the ordinary American film offerings. Exquisitely using the backdrops of western New York and specifically the city of Rochester (home to Eastman Kodak), Manganelli reflects on the genuine human connections people make at very desperate moments in their lives. This is a film about being vulnerable, being melancholy, and also a film about extraordinary human acceptance and forgiveness.
You will not be disappointed in this film. You will walk away knowing you have just seen a film directed and acted by people who clearly are very talented and know how to make intelligent films. You will also not be able to forget it because, like many great films, After Image speaks to you long after you have left the movie theater.