“The Lovely Bones” DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

5/03/2010 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

“The Lovely Bones”

Directed by Peter Jackson, written by Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, 139 minutes, rated PG-13.

By Christopher Smith

Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones” is a head trip for audiences, a trip to hell for the family featured, and a plunge into purgatory for another.

Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens based their script on Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel, and what they pulled from it is a mostly engrossing film about the Salmons, a middle-class suburban family emotionally destroyed on Dec. 6, 1973 when 14-year-old Susie (a wonderful Saoirse Ronan) is raped. And then murdered. And then broken into parts and cut into pieces. (Everything mentioned in this review is revealed in the trailer--there are no spoilers here.)

Her downfall? Trusting her neighbor George Harvey (Stanley Tucci), who lures Susie down a well of his own creation. There, the candle-lit environment appears to be the perfect childhood hideaway, one complete with sodas, snacks, games and toys. It all seems like a dream until out of nowhere, Susie is instructed to be polite. The atmosphere becomes tense as George starts to come undone. From here, it all goes terribly wrong.

This is a review of the movie, not the book, which is unread by me, but that’s fine since any movie needs to stand on its own. I’m coming to it clean.

The movie is composed of several parts. While Susie is alive, it’s a coming-of-age story about a young girl with a crush on an older boy (Reese Ritchie). When she’s murdered, she goes into the “In-Between,” a ripe, hyper-fantasy world in which colors explode on the screen, leaves fly off trees as if they were birds, and mountains move. It’s beautiful, it’s intoxicating, sometimes it’s a bit much--but really, it’s anything Susie wants it to be.

And yet, as Susie herself notes in the narration that accompanies the film, she knows that “I wasn’t gone--I was alive in my own perfect world. But in my heart, I knew it wasn’t perfect. My murderer still haunted me.” It’s this that brings us to the film’s third and most satisfying part--a good deal of “The Lovely Bones” is a well-conceived thriller, particularly since Susie’s mother and father (Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg), along with their daughter, Lindsey (Rose McIver), and the police detective (Michael Imperioli) working the case, come together to find the killer and bring him down.

Joining them is Susie’s boozy, saucy grandmother (Susan Sarandon, happy to be here, happier to be having a good time with hair large enough to fill an aviary), who initially offers the living Susie a smoky kind of knowing love before events turn dour as attention turns to George. Could it be that he’s the killer? Everyone in the audiences knows he is, but it’s how this family unit dares to find out--a scene involving Lindsey breaking into George’s house is terrific in the suspense it offers--that makes “Bones” a flawed but well-acted and worthwhile thriller.

Grade: B

Below is the trailer for "The Lovely Bones." What did you think of the movie?

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes