Whatever mysterious spell is woven in bestselling Euro novelist Guillaume Musso’s “Afterwards” unravels in the English-language film version from French helmer Gilles Bourdos (“Inquietudes”). This supernatural nonthriller about people who see about-to-be-dead people is short on suspense, character involvement, narrative momentum and payoff. Genre fans will find it dead slow; arthouse patrons will think it’s silly hocus-pocus. Fans of the book and topliner Romain Duris (hardly seen to best advantage) should boost the year-end Gaul launch, but prospects elsewhere will be blah.
Survivor of a childhood near-death experience and his own infant son’s death, New York lawyer Nathan (Duris) has become a mirthless workaholic separated from his wife (Evangeline Lilly) and young daughter. Out of the blue, one Dr. Kay (John Malkovich) approaches him, claiming he’s a messenger who knows in advance when someone is going to die, so he can help that person depart in peace. Convinced at least part of this is true, Nathan suspects he’s about to die and/or is a messenger himself. Duris’ clenched ESL perf is off-putting, Malkovich is on “strange” autopilot and the story grows more uneventful as it goes along. Assembly is pro.