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The Lovely Bones
In times of injustice which is better? Your murderer getting what he deserves? Or your family's needs to heal over the loss?
"The Lovely Bones" is perhaps one of the most intriguing movies ever conjured. Based off the novel by Alice Sebold, where it tells the story of a young teenage girl, Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan), whom gets raped and murdered by her next door neighbor, George Harvey (Stanley Tucci). After she dies, Susie watches over both her killer and family from heaven, where she must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal. Ordinarily, I know many people would want to see a murderous pedophile caught, as would I. However, "The Lovely Bones" presents a moral conundrum like no other. What if there was no definitive proof to lock up the alleged person, and he was just that great at covering his tracks. In the end causing the family to under go severe emotional stress and heart ache, over the loss of their daughter. In the end, the killer still proving too elusive to cover his tracks as even the determined father, Jack Salmon (Mark Wahlberg), can't seem to prove George's crime, despite him knowing what he did. What would you do then if justice couldn't be achieved legally? Seek illegal means of justice? Like I said before, most people would want to have justice served but as "The Lovely Bones" shows, life isn't always that cut and dry. The film isn't as controversial as the book, as it focuses less on the rape aspect and more on the murder part, for obvious reasons. However, it's still a pretty powerful and engaging film like no other.
Peter Jackson and his crew of writers do a great job conveying a controversial subject matter in a way, where it not only moves the audience emotionally, but it allows them to see that justice isn't always fair and unbiased. That sometimes in order for justice to be achieved, it can come at extreme costs. As I've stated earlier, I along with everyone else would want to see justice to a deranged and murderous pedophile, but life isn't always that easy or fair. I think Peter Jackson and his writers do an excellent job conveying that concept, in such a way that it'll have audiences question what's really important during those time if they couldn't have both. What if any of us had to choose what's more important? Vengeance? Or to finally mourn and get over the loss of their loved one in peace? Could anyone make such a hard choice? I know I couldn't. Yet, "The Lovely Bones" presents such a controversial conundrum.
After seeing Stanley Tucci's performance earlier in last summer's "Julie & Julia" as the supportive husband to Julia Childs, it was very weird to see him tackle on the role of a creepy pedophile in "The Lovely Bones." Especially since he manages to play it extremely well and convincingly. In fact, at one point in the movie, I couldn't get over just how eerily creepy and sleazy this guy was in the role. It was almost too realistic, as I found myself rooting for Jack to beat up George, when he was trying to chase him through a corn field.
Then lets not forget about Saoirse Ronan, whom does an excellent job in her first lead acting role, in a critically acclaimed film since "Atonement." Her performance was not only well beyond her years, but she managed to portray a wide range of emotions that most actresses couldn't convey in one film. Having to portray such a young and naive character, whom only joy is to live out her life as a normal teenager, with tons of ambitions and dreams. Only to have ripped away from her at such a young age. Then not only having to witness her family's lives from heaven, but pondering what could have been. Feelings that her life was ripped away from her as she sees her murderer living a free life, as the cops were unable to link him to the crime. Needless to say, this causes a lot of stress for her and her family. As each attempt she makes to the Earth realm to her father, to pursue her murderer only ends in disaster. Forcing her to make a choice between her desire for revenge, or to see her family finally be able to move on. Such a choice wouldn't be easy for anyone to decide, yet Saoirse manages to portray that range of emotion on screen quite well.
The special effects are pretty good as expected, so there's not much shock there. Peter Jackson always manages to direct great films that feature a solid story and fantastic visuals. Unlike directors like Michael Bay, whom relies solely on visuals.
Sadly, that's not to say this film doesn't have it's flaws. The film doesn't explain the connection between heaven and Earth that well. Sure, I can understand how Susie is able to communicate with her father from the spiritual realm, as sightings ghosts have been reported for years by various sources. Yet how is that the Earth realm is able to affect heaven? In one scene, when Jack gets so angry, about Susie's death, he smashes one of his "ship in a bottle" models out of sheer frustration. This causes a severe rift in heaven as broken glasses wash up on the shore of heaven, as Susie watches it. One can only presume this is used to show that Susie hasn't quite let go of her previous life yet, as that might be the cause of how the Earth realm affects the heavens. However, it never gets fully explained, even when another angel shows up to guide Susie to her next life.
"The Lovely Bones" is definitely one of the best films of year, and definitely worthy of it's critically acclaimed success. Saoirse Ronan and Stanley Tucci are both great in their perspective roles, as each of them pull off their characters convincingly. Peter Jackson does it again as he uses great visuals to enhance another epic story. Overall, "The Lovely Bones" is definitely a must see film for anyone who loves movies.