The Lovely Bones (DVD)
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|Contributor||Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Rachel Weisz, Peter Jackson, Michael Imperioli, Susan Sarandon|
|Runtime||2 hours and 15 minutes|
Peter Jackson directs this emotional drama based on the bestselling novel by Alice Sebold. Saoirse Ronan stars as Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old girl who was brutally raped and murdered in 1973 by a family neighbour, George Harvey (Stanley Tucci), and now watches over both her family - parents Jack and Abigail (Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz), sister Lindsey (Rose McIver) and her Grandma Lynn (Susan Sarandon) - from heaven, trying to find ways to communicate with them how to find her hidden body and solve the ongoing mystery of her death. She also watches her killer who - having hitherto successfully avoided conviction - is preparing to murder again.
- Aspect Ratio : 1.66:1
- Product dimensions : 9 x 15 x 12 cm; 34.93 Kilograms
- Director : Peter Jackson
- Media Format : DVD, PAL
- Run time : 2 hours and 15 minutes
- Release date : 22 April 2010
- Actors : Michael Imperioli, Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci
- Dubbed: : English
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Studio : UniversalSony
- ASIN : B005RYCR0K
- Country of origin : Australia
- Number of discs : 1
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Susie is the 14 year-old victim of a serial killer and the film shows her observing from an indeterminate state of limbo (neither heaven or the real world) how her family copes in the aftermath of her death.
I think Peter Jackson has done rather well, all things considered; the story is a melancholic one and even the book isn't without plot flaws and a certain lack of resolution. The film has the advantage of making visual instantly what the novel takes long passages to describe and the relationship between Susie and Ruth is underplayed (and I think better handled) in the film version. Some have accused it of sentimentality, but really, how can you tell a story of this kind without feeling the emotions it entails?
Saoirse Ronan as Susie gives a really accomplished central performance for such a young actor and Susan Sarandon as Grandma Lynn is in a class of her own. There is fine support from the rest of the cast and Stanley Tucci portrays George Harvey with a chilling authenticity.
Beautifully filmed - even aside from the special effects - it is, underneath, a quite harrowing story that needs the balancing weights of pathos and emotion to make it work. I've watched it some 3 times since its release and feel I can better assess it now and in comparison to the novel which I read before this film came out.
A Flawed film, perhaps, but if you give it a fair chance it will stay with you and there is much to appreciate about this tragic but moving story.
The DVD release has nothing in the way of extras; there are subtitles, but you may have to adjust your screen settings in order to see them fully.
A 1960's - early 1970's murderer of a number of pre-adult girls of different ages called Mr Harvey is played by Stanley Tucci. There is a hint that Mr Harvey is also a sex offender, but, fortunately, there is no sex or nudity in this film, and we never get to see the gruesome murders actually carried out before our eyes on screen.
The Salmon family comprises Mr Salmon played by Mark Wahlberg, Mrs Salmon played by Rachel Weisz, the mother of Mrs Salmon, referred to as "your mother" by Mark Wahlberg, and a very formal "Grandmother" by the Salmon children, is played by Susan Sarandon, and the three Salmon children, two daughters and a son, include the murdered girl called Susan / Suzie Salmon played by Saoirse Ronan.
The main credits do not mention the younger sister, Lindsay Salmon, and you really have to look hard to find out that she is called Rose McIver in real life, which is strange in itself because she has an important, albeit utterly far-fetched, role in that she finds the evidence that proves that Mr Harvey is the abductor and murderer of her slightly older sister, Suzie. She is also scene stealingly beautiful and attractive. All credit has to go to the film director, Peter Jackson, and the film crew in, arguably, getting it "just right" when filming Lindsay Salmon / Rose McIver, because any more of her and the film would be entirely about her just on her looks and physical attractiveness alone, given that she is also a first class actress in her own right. Saoirse Ronan is excellent throughout, but could easily have found herself, (and, it has to be said, the other women in the film), completely eclipsed by Rose McIver if Peter Jackson and the film crew had spent even a little bit more time and attention than they did on Linsay Salmon / Rose McIver.
In this film the murdered Susan Salmon watches over her family and through will-power directs them, in particular her Dad, but also her younger sister Lindsay, towards the murderer, who, although not caught by the authorities, meets a satisfyingly grisly end. In real life, I would contend, it would not be the deceased who watches over the family, directing them, and, it has to be said, the authorities, particularly in a functioning modern state, in the right direction, but an Angel.
Mr Harvey is a solitary figure, but in real life the kind of bloke who does this sort of thing almost always has a woman, along the lines of Fred and Rosemary West in the UK.
In short, a very good film, marred, I thought, by modern stereo-typing and political correctness, (on all fronts ... the new age-type religion that has the deceased Suzie Salmon hanging about directing the living, the intrepid / extra-ordinarily brave teenage girl as played by Lindsay / Rose McIver when getting the evidence from Mr Harvey's house, the creepy middle-aged bloke who lives on his own, abducting, sexually abusing, and murdering young girls, the central Asian looking girl murdered by Mr Harvey in what was obviously very white parts of 1960's United States who pals up with Suzie in that new age inbetween religious state that comes between dying here and going to heaven ...), with only the strength of the acting cast saving an often truly far-fetched, unpleasant, storyline from total oblivion.
The film does have an uncomfortable edge to it in so much as the depressing horror of murder. And there is great sadness in the loss of the murdered teenager Susie. But this film has more than just a murder story.
We see Susie Salmon from a little girl right up to the time when as a teenager she is murdered by a neighbour.
She finds herself in a world between the mortal world and heaven. A world where it is neither one thing or another.
She reflects back over her life and events of the terrible murder and is pulled to her family through the emotional pain they go through and as she struggles to cope with everything she has to learn to let go and move on towards the light of heaven. We see that death is part of life. And we are reminded about what is really important here in this life.
This is a haunting and heartbreaking story that unfolds from heaven, where life is a perpetual yesterday. Everyone has his or her own version of heaven. It can be what we want it to be. Susie's version is part of her simplest dreams.
This is a sort of coming of age story. Susie clings to the world of the living as she struggles to accept her death. She watches her family disintegrate in their grief. Her father becomes pre occupied with finding the killer. Her Mother is in denial and withdraws. And Susie watches her sister go through the milestones of the teenage life she was supposed to have. The story is a sentimental journey of loss, love and faith.
The idea of a murdered teenager caught in a between worlds place as she watches over her friends and family cope with her death and her own struggle to fight feelings of revenge is not so negative as one might think.
Instead we see the afterlife world through fabulous special effects with glorious imagery. We see the love of a family that transcends disaster and grief. The love that can always be there for all eternity. We see how through that love, and the glory of heavenly love that it is possible to let go and to move on as best we can.
As for the murder thread there are little moment of development with regard to the killer but the ending proves that this film is not the ordinary murder horror story with a predictable conclusion.
Instead I felt that the murder although a heavy feature is not what the film is really about. The film asks what is really important. The death or the love? Our lives here on earth are just a moment of time in the grand order of the universe. Our lives touch others. There are threads that cross each other and there are moments when we share good and bad with others. Loved ones can always be with us through those moments of love for each other even when they are not physically with us. Love can be there without actually ever getting to say I love you.
Susie and her family struggle to bring the killer to justice. Love unites and negativity destroys. So in the end everyone has to let go. And without giving anything away everything comes right in the end.
The film has great originality and imagery and shows life as raw as it can be, as well as a life after in a heavenly existence as I hope it will be. Susie moves on to heaven and her family move on with their lives.
The movie is quite long and it can seem gloomy and slow but don't be put off. This is a film that requires thought. It has originality.