Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Lovely Bones


Peter Jackson is an interesting film maker, he has made films of different genres and for the most part I've enjoyed them a lot. He has a unique and beautiful visual style, which is present in all his films (Yes even the early ones), and watching the trailers to this it seemed this was no different, it looked like a visual delight despite the sad subject matter. It looked like a return to the style of Heavenly Creatures, in some ways it was. After reading a lot of reviews for this film and seeing the negative reaction it has gotten, I can understand it however I felt very differently. I really liked this film for the most part.

The Lovely Bones is based upon a book of the same name which I haven't read, about a 14 year old girl named Suzie Salmon who is murdered. She watches as her family struggles to cope with her loss, she looms around the inbetween. Her father becomes obsessed with finding out what happened and who did it to her, the family basically falls apart.

I don't think this book would have been easy to write a script for, it seems like something that was rather difficult to translate to the screen. I do believe Peter Jackson did a good job with it, it is a hard subject matter, considering what happens to Suzie and the fact that she is telling the story from beyond the grave so to speak. The scenes we see of Suzie in the inbetween are quite stunning, very gorgeous to look at. Almost reminded me of some of the scenes of The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus (Both Jackson and Gilliam have their unique styles but they are both very visual film makers), there is a strange beauty to them even in the sadness.

The stand out performers were Saoirse Ronan as Suzie and Stanley Tucci as Mr. Harvey the man who kills Suzie. Saoirse Ronan is an amazing young actress, she already has an Oscar nomination under her belt and I do believe we've just seen the start of a great career to come. She really embodied Suzie and you really just fall in love with the character and it hurts when she is gone from her families life. One of the most disgusting and creepy characters Mr. Harvey was played flawlessly by Tucci and this was quite a different role for him. I would put this up there with Jackie Earle Haley's performance in Little Children of pedophile Ronnie. Both characters were genuinely creepy and pretty much flawless as well. Tucci disappeared in this character, and you basically just want to beat him up badly for what he has done. As the story progresses you come to realise just what a disgusting person he is too.

Everyone else was pretty solid as well, I know Mark Wahlberg has developed this reputation of being a bad actor after The Happening. I have always thought he was a decent actor and I've enjoyed him in films like The Italian Job and Shooter which I think he is perfectly suited to. I thought he was just fine in this, maybe he wasn't the perfect choice but I thought he tried and he made it work for the most part. I felt his pain of losing a child, and I did relate to his character. Rachel Weisz had a small role as the mother, she was fine when she was there but it felt like a wasted role. I really liked Susan Sarandon as the alcoholic grandmother, I thought she did just fine too, not so much of a waste role. At least you felt she was there, whereas with Weisz you didn't. Michael Imperioli was quite good as well, it was nice to see him in a film.

I thought the direction was pretty good, the pacing worked as well, there were maybe a few slow parts but that didn't really affect the film too much for me. Now this is headed into spoiler territory however the ending just did not sit too well with me. Now this is a sad and depressing film already and I think the way things wrapped up for certain things just made it even more sad and upsetting and I felt that the audience deserved something better. I am not sure if this was how it was wrapped up in the book, and obviously things in life aren't always happy, but it felt as though we all deserved something happy. Certainly not Jackson's best film but a pretty solid effort, I hope that the subject matter (religious elements) don't put people off. We all believe in different things and this is just one interpretation of that. Have an open mind.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I rather have seen more of Rachel Weisz's mother character than Susan Sarandon's grandmother, who did not really fit the film at all but you never know what they left on the cutting room floor and what i have heard, it was plenty.