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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Review: The Lovely Bones (12A) ★★
enters on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family - and her killer - from heaven. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.

You're Peter Jackson. You've made three of quite possibly the biggest and most popular films of all time. You then tackle a remake of a bona fide classic and similarly make it huge and epic. So how do you follow this exhausting spate of movies? You slow it right down and take on a dark, compact, claustrophobic novel centered around a dead child.

I haven't read the novel by Alice Sebold so had no frame of reference going into this film, and to be honest it didn't encourage me to seek out the original source material. The film essentially centers on a young girl, Susie Salmon, who is murdered and resides in the space between reality and the afterlife watching over her family as they struggle to come to terms with her murder. Her father, played by a game Mark Wahlberg, becomes obsessed with finding out who murdered Susie and delves deeper and deeper into paranoia blaming everyone in the neighborhood for the crime. Rachel Weisz plays his suffering wife, who for my money, is completely wasted and reduced to one line scenes where all she has to do is look depressed. Michael Imperioli plays the detective investigating the murder but for some reason just seems out of place and disinterested, and the least said about Susan Sarandon the better.

The heaven sequences where Susie resides are very reminiscent to the Robin Williams film What Dreams May Come, in fact I think every review I've read has said the same thing and its this that takes away the individualism of the film. There are also far, far too many of them, which prompts you to start thinking, okay we get it, can we carry on with the plot now. This was probably my biggest critique of the film. The plot itself never really gets going until the last twenty minutes, the scenes preceding feeling like a forced jigsaw with the pieces never fitting together correctly.

The saving grace of the film is Stanley Tucci's creepy Mr Harvey who embodies the role with such gusto that you actually start to feel repulsed by him yet compelled to want him back on the screen, even though you know its going to turn nasty. He's quite rightly been nominated for an Oscar and lifts this film from being a one star failure.

All in all a disappointment, which is a shame really as somewhere there's got to be a directors cut with scenes that will help the movie come together and turn it into the film it probably deserves to be.



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