Twitter Friendly Lovely Bones Reveiw:
It’s like Peter Jackson doing Terry Gilliam-Light. Stanley Tucci is amazing. Good night everybody!
Attention Span Friendly Lovely Bones Review:
Plot Synopsis from IMDB:
Based on the best selling book by Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones is the story of a 14-year-old girl from suburban Pennsylvania who is murdered by her neighbor. She tells the story from Heaven, showing the lives of the people around her and how they have changed all while attempting to get someone to find her lost body.
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You watch a movie like Peter Jackson’s latest effort and wonder why we have the Hollywood system that we do. You think about that for about a second and you quietly remember: it’s 98% based on who is sexier. Duh. Silly to forget such concrete facts. Death. Taxes. Attractive people always win. Why is Mark Wahlberg more famous and prosperous than Stanley Tucci? No offense to Wahlberg, but other than saying hi to mothers vicariously through their offspring, a whispy voice and looking serious all the time, what does he have to offer in a world where acting behemoths like Tucci exist? It’s a rhetorical question, yet the answer is seemingly sex appeal. That could be wrong though, perhaps we haven’t seen Wahlberg’s full potential, but we have seen Tucci’s for decades now. Tucci can do drama, comedy, action, sci-fi, hero, villain, anything…just give the guy a script and he pours the premium-acting-serum down his gullet and blows you away. Once again I apologize for my bitter snark, but I’ve been a follower and fan of Mr. Tucci since Undercover Blues. It gets a touch annoying when the community starts praising an actor, who has been great for twenty years, like he came out of nowhere and it’s a surprise he is that damn good. His incredibly nuanced and Oscar worthy performance in The Lovely Bones is the least surprising cinematic pleasure I’ve witnessed so far in 2010.
Praise of Tucci aside, The Lovely Bones is an uneven delight. Having not read the book, it seems obvious to say that none of these assertions are based on accuracy to the source material. Peter Jackson channels his Heavenly Creatures mojo and adds a dash of Terry Gilliam’s aesthetic to the skeleton of the movie. The scenes featuring Saoirse Ronan’s Susie Salmon wafting through the “inbetween” of heaven and earth are easily the strongest elements of the whole film, and the scenes in which Jackson seems to be most comfortable. The director’s output for the last ten years has no doubt become household knowledge. Being a strong fan of his films, (especially his early work) it is a touch disappointing to see him come back from heavy fantasy worlds in order to prove to those that forgot, or didn’t know, his pre-Rings career had shown he can do other genres besides fantasy, only for him to deliver a movie where the fantasy scenes work so well and the scenes based in reality fall way off key. If anything The Lovely Bones will only serve to push him more into the pre-defined little fantasy treasure-chest that it should have broke him out of.
Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Wiesz play the parents of Susie Salmon, and they feel like a huge presence in the narrative…for about 15 minutes. After Susie goes missing, murdered by Stanley Tucci’s disgusting George Harvey, the role of the parental units (Conehead speak!) seems to just dissipate off into the wind, so much so that I forgot about Wiesz’s character even being in the movie for a good chunk. Her comings and goings happen without much fanfare, much like the father’s obsession with finding the truth about his daughter’s disappearance. In fact, it seems we are suppose to be following the father’s heartbreak more than anyone’s, but suddenly Susie’s invisible-to-the-audience sister, played by Rose Mclver, comes to the forefront in the hunt for the killer and it gives off this very uneven feeling of who we are emotionally suppose to follow. Add in a wacky montage (wacky montage? Yes really) of Susan Sarandon’s hard drinking, smoking Grandmother trying to do house chores and take care of the kids while the parents mourn and you have one very disjointed feeling. First the movie is killing a kid, and then Susan Sarandon has a wacky ‘80s-style montage, with a side of more wacky. WACKY! There is also a semi-side-story involving a psychic girl who becomes this film’s “Whoopi Goldberg” which I won’t go into, but let me stress, it makes it even more unbalanced.
The one consistent character through out is Tucci’s George Harvey. The razor sharp performance coupled with the dimly lit scenes of the killer bombastically pounding, sawing, and thoughtfully planning out the murder of an innocent girl molds George Harvey into an archetypal villain worth noting. Susie narrates the events of her killer’s life, past and present, showing us the horrid crimes he’s committed and how much he craves them. If there is anything to be said about craftsmanship here it is the wonderful sound design and editing concerning George’s scenes. The sounds are sharp, full, and hit hard in contrast to the rest of the film’s soft audio texture. A small piece of praise, but a worthy one…someone’s got to give the sound guy’s their due!
It needs to be said that the uneven tone could possibly be due to the long span of time that the film’s narrative covers. In many ways the movie reminded me of David Fincher’s Zodiac, due to the long spans of time not shown and character progression that has to be sacrificed because of such. In all honesty The Lovely Bones might be getting a rather unfair assessment from me, it felt like one of those movies where repeat viewings help the flick to find its footing in your mind and sell you on it a ton more. Perhaps I’m just saying that because I’m a fan of Jackson, but all the flaws taken into account, the movie still has much to offer. Highly recommended for fans of Stanley Tucci and the concept of purgatory (the non-Catholic version.)
Thanks for reading!
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