What do you get when you cross Lord Of The Rings with a murder mystery?…The Lovely Bones…Apparently

This is a film by LOTR director, Peter Jackson, adapted from the book of the same name. Here is the trailer for The Lovely Bones:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvWXV-c2hWo

SO before I get started I actually quite enjoyed this film and would recommend watching it as it is engaging, at times tense and has some striking, original visuals. That being said I may have gone off on a rant it here. I wish I could blame it on something in particular but I cant… I just went over board.

Here it is…enjoy!

This film focuses on the Salmon Family; father Jack (Mark Wahlberg), mother Abigail (Rachel Weisz), daughters  Susie (Saorise Ronan) and Lindsey (Rose McIver) and little brother Buckley, and how the cope with Susie’s death. Ever present is the unsettling neighbour George Harvey (Stanley Tucci).

NB/ Buckley disappears 30 minutes into the film to only be mentioned once more and never seen again. I guess the writers took a day off?

This time I’m going to do things a little differently, I am going to alternate between things I liked and didn’t like!

THING I LIKED #1: ACTING

The majority of the cast (with notable exceptions) put in great emotional and likeable performances. Saorise Ronan as Susie Q was brilliant and I am excited to see some of her more recent work. The biggest applause really goes to Stanley Tucci as George Harvey. He completely embodies the role in a way I’ve never seen Tucci do before. He was unsettling, chilling and unrelenting.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck ? If a wookchuck could chuck wood?

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck ? If a wookchuck could chuck wood?

THING I DISLIKED #1: ACTING

2 big red flags here. Firstly, the insignificant role of Ray who is played by Reece Ritchie with a myriad of deep expressions including (and limited too); gormless, vacant, bland, bored, fixed on something in the distane, bored, blank, empty, the lights are on but nobody’s home… oh and bored again.

Secondly, Susan Sarandon as irresponsible, alcoholic Grandma #1. I normally love Sarandon but she was so over the top and ridiculous that her moments of light relief just seemed out of place. This is a film about a child being murdered and the hardest scene to watch in the whole film was the cringe worthy makeover Super Gran gives Lindsey. A makeover consisting of oatmeal face mask and raw egg conditioner…Oh god…(Retch)…(Swallow)…I’m okay now.

LIKE#2 VISUALS

As you’d expect from Jackson this film is beautiful. Whether its the use of colour, the scenery or even the refreshing and original take on the in-between. Worth seeing just for the imaginative film making alone.

DISLIKE#2 VISUALS aka EXPOSITION BY CGI

Okay so I know all of this takes place in Susie’s limbo place… but why have Susie act a certain way because of the emotions she is feeling when you can just CGI everyone’s emotions into the scenery. Susie is happy. Golden corn field. Susie’s sad. The field turns to water and she goes underwater. Her Dad is angry… have the ships in bottle he smashes in real life appear in her limbo? I can’t keep track anymore.

Need a plot point explaining? Put it in the background. Where are her remains? Put it in the limbo CGI. How does the killer relive the events? Put in the limbo CGI. How does Jack figure out who did it? A clue Susie sends from the CGI limbo. God fucking damn it!

LIKE#3 FOCUS ON FAMILY

Despite the troubling and dark subject matter there is minimal focus on violence or abuse. Instead the lion’s share of the focus is on the Salmon family and how they each respond and deal with this tragic event. This makes a wonderful change from Hollywood’s current obsession with violence and pain and gritty super-hero movies.

DISLIKE#3 SENTIMENT 

You knew there was going to be a but coming! The family focus often shits from endearing and positive to cloying and irritating!

ENDING????

If the film had ended 5 minutes earlier it would have been darker and sinister but much stronger for it! Instead, it tags an irritating karma based ending on which completely conflicts with the whole movies tone of accepting the hand life dealt you. Instead we get a, ”Look and smell the roses ending. Aren’t they so unbelievably pungent  fragrant”. Plus more cloying sentiment.

THERE IS ALSO A WHOLE LOAD OF WEIRD HEAVEN/LIMBO/IN-BETWEEN STUFF  WITH AN ANNOYING GIRL CALLED HOLLY.

ALSO FOR ALL BUDDING SCREEN WRITERS – EXPOSITION BY DEAD GIRL VOICEOVER IS NOT ALLOWED! YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY TO GET THIS INFORMATION ACROSS THAN HAVE THE DEAD GIRL NARRATE IT? 

Annndd breatthheee..

VERDICT: I CAN’T CARRY IT FOR YOU BUT I CAN CARRY YOU…to the sofa to watch this film. The dead girl told us to in a voiceover….WATCH THE FILM…WATCH THE FILM…

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3 comments

  1. joel watches movies · July 8, 2015

    good review- many of my thoughts exactly! pretty much i loved most of the scenes on earth- boy crush aside- and disliked most of the fluffy scenes in “heaven”. tucci was briliant.

    Like

  2. lingstar4 · July 8, 2015

    I saw this when it was originally released in the cinema having not read the book. I think you summed it up about perfectly for me! Stanley Tucci is great in this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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