I wanted so much more for this movie. So much more to happen. In a nutshell The Lovely Bones is about a 14 year old girl named Suzie who is murdered by her neighbor.Suzie is roaming around a blissfully beautiful purgatory watching her family trying to cope with the tragedy, and trying to communicate with them betwixt astral planes of existences to bring her murderer to justice. Now, the nutshell sounds kinda compelling, right? Well it is, except at some points of this melodramatic art piece, the pacing renders you completely frustrated like a punch to the chest….
Not that the film isn’t completely endearing and LOVELY, it’s just a frustration you have no control over. Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings infamy has changed his pace from mega blockbusters to drama and brought with it a coexisting relationship of his sparkling CG magic. And here, he flexes his CG muscles at us like an army of Uruk Hai marching out of Isengard, this time though its in the form of Suzie’s heaven. Or Purgatory. You never really know for sure, Jackson is so over involved with making the Heaven so Heavenly, you start to lose pacing with the film itself and sometimes you feel like they are just dazzling to dazzle, and didn’t need to so much in the first place. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz play Suzie’s grieving parents, Wahlberg, who wants vengeance and will stop at nothing to find the killer and Weisz who wants to run away from the nightmare, are solid and fragile at the same time. Suzie is played startlingly well by Saoirse Ronan, bringing the innocence and bewilderment of a small child to the grace and terror of a teenager coping with her own murder. Her eyes alone tell the story of an aged soul trying to communicate for years through the medium of life and death, and her confusion and determination to not succumb to the peace of heaven while their is still evil on earth.
And then there is Stanley Tucci.
Tucci has brought to the table a new lispy demon to rival Heath Ledger’s Joker, with his scars impeding speech, and Tucci’s Mr. Harvey naturally unnerving impediment. His pedophile/murderer/rapist sits idly suburban, making dollhouses by hand and keeping his cravings at bay until his appetite is too intense and he must feed. After he selects a girl, his ritual revolves, like most murderers, in the ritual itself. Drawing out plans for his creepy dungeons and how he will lure them to they’re unsuspecting deaths.
Jackson came under fire from Lovely Bone purists angry that Suzie’s rape and murder scene were cut from the film. It does leave her horror to the imagination, which can be much worse, but in this case it leaves you a tad underwhelmed. Any moment Stanley Tucci is onscreen is a wonderment of natural terror, Mr. Harvey incarnate, seems to keep you on your toes fearing for your own life. The rape scene in question could have at least been discussed more to give ignorant viewers something more to chew on, but alas, it was one of the decisions, I fear that make Bones a little more aimless with no real arcs anywhere to behold.
You want a lot of things. You want Wahlberg to put pieces together faster. You want Suzie to connect thoroughly. You want them to find her body out of sheer frustration that you know it is right next door the whole time. This film is lovely. It is a portrait of a story painted by Jackson who in the process happened to use too many colors. His actors bringing huge delight to the screen but his Heaven being a tad too blinding. So much so that it keeps you fom seeing the whole picture.
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