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Movie Review: "The Lovely Bones"

Written By: Harold Schossman

2009-12-08

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Just before Peter Jackson steps into full gear as producer on The Hobbit which is now scheduled to start shooting in June 2010 due to some script changes (the film’s release date will not be affected) the iconic director launches his latest film “The Lovely Bones” in theaters around the world.

Based on Alice Sebold’s novel “Bones” follows the story of a young girl named Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) who is murdered Dec. 6, 1973.  Jackson places Susie immediately in Heaven thus having her describe her own rape/murder. At first she doesn’t even realize she is dead. Empty streets, an abandoned home with faint whispers of the living only hint at the tragedy of Susie’s fate. As realization dawns she refuses to proceed to Heaven, but remains behind intent on having her murderer be brought to justice. Throughout the film Susie is both the narrator and all seeing observer witnessing the toll her disappearance takes on her family.

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The movie has elements of a crime thriller with the next-door neighbor and perpetrator George Harvey (Stanley Tucci) silently covering his tracks while Susie’s father Jack (Mark Wahlberg) and mother Abigail (Rachel Weisz) are desperately struggling to find the killer as their relationship crumbles.

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Only after some time healing begins and some characters realize that Susie has never truly left, they can even almost see her.

Susie’s in-between world, not Earth, not Heaven gives Jackson ample playground to showcase his visual imagination. A surreal world with changing seasons and rainbow colored environments but also dark elements lend the film a uniqueness that sets it apart from the regular who-done-it story.

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Acting is first rate, Saoirse Ronan who thrilled us with her performance in Atonement was fantastic. She is pretty much the glue that holds the elements together. Stanley Tucci, barely recognizable, just melts into his character.  He finds just the right balance between the nice neighbor and creepy pervert who is secretly stalking Susie.

The Lovely Bones is by no means an easy story to tell cinematically. I’m not familiar with the book though I have been told that the film has been altered significantly. As a movie I felt it was very well done, outstanding craftsmanship. The story relies very much on the emotions of its 14 year-old protagonist. Occasional elements were reminiscent of the 6th Sense but just barely so. The end could have been condensed a little, but we all know Peter Jackson likes to take his time ending films. Definitely an Academy Award contender!

About The Author: Harold Schossman is our International News Corespondent and our resident Expert Videographer. He has worked in the entertainment industry for almost two decades. Be sure to check out his outstanding video work on his YouTube account.

http://www.youtube.com/user/hdeditor