Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
The Lovely Bones (2009)
An emotional dispute about death. From both perspectives.
To be honest I only decided to watch this because of the director. Being a big fan of LotR as well as Peter Jackson, I was really curious as to what kind of movie this would be.
I was really hoping for something above and beyond a simple serial murderer movie, and that's precisely what I got. The film set the pace at the very beginning. The careful narration and focus on details that often didn't have anything to do with the main plot was very suggestive, as was the running time. 2 hours is quite long for a movie of this kind, but since I like a slow, brooding atmosphere, this suited my taste perfectly.
Acting was really good, although I wouldn't say that anybody was particularly outstanding. Both Susie and her murderer were played in a unique way that made them stand out as action focusing figures within the plot, but as far as pure acting skill goes, there was little to truly grab my attention. Still, a job done well on both fronts. Rachel Weisz was good as always, Mark Wahlberg surprisingly warm and tender, especially since the last movie with him that I saw was Departed, and he was anything but gentle. Susan Sarandon playing a toxic grandmother was fun to watch.
Camera work was very well handled. I must say I grew tired of both the Bourne-style shaky cam (which wouldn't fit this piece anyway) as well as too stationary, document-like style also abundant in today's movies. Mostly smooth panning, matching the pace of the movie and making it perfectly possible to focus on the slowly evolving plot. It gives you the time to absorb the content spilling out of the screen, to think it through, analyze the image. Maybe even for a second or two disappear in your own world picturing yourself as a deceased person watching his or her grieving family, without losing anything of the movie, yet getting a better feel and almost experiencing the atmosphere. Superb camera work in my opinion.
CGI were very well dosed. I'm not going to comment on the quality since this movie's special effects did not lack anything, but the images of a dream-like afterlife were both captivating and convincing. One can of course only guess what it really looks like, but it might as well be this unreal world devoid of physics and reason. As for the music, it was very delicate, emotional, subtle. It matched the camera work as well as the generally slow tempo of the film and helped induce the right 'feel' as well as being simply a beautiful addition to the whole, at times easing the tension, and in a next scene building up the events leading to a culminating point.
As for the plot, it was for a large part a text book serial killing. No big surprises here, although I didn't really expect any. I was more interested in what the afterlife looks like, even if from a perspective of a teenage girl that didn't exactly see much of the world and is probably making up a lot of what she sees, drawing from her own limited memories. The family's reaction to a beloved one's death, the grief, the pain, it was well portrayed. Looking around seeing things that remind them of her, smashing the bottle ships, remembering the last words of their daughter, about her talent going to waste and thinking over and over again about what could have they done better, said differently, about all those pictures she took with the camera. At the same time seeing snapshots of the murderer and not being sure what does he feel, what does he think. For a long time none of his real emotions surface, he remains steady and secure. Only after a while we see him feel something. What is it? That's difficult to say, but again this is not exactly important. Justice will be dealt somehow, that was my belief.
Still, at some point past the middle of the film, I had the feeling that somebody wanted it to be long but lost the idea of how to do that. It felt unnaturally prolonged at that point and this is technically my only complaint. I would like to see some more of the afterlife world or maybe additional details covering the investigation, or maybe the murderer's remorse or at least doubts surfacing somehow. Instead, for a moment I wasn't sure what I'm watching. As if waiting for something, and then suddenly seeing her father slowly getting the idea of his neighbor being responsible, while helping him built a garden shack for his other daughter (sic!). It seemed stretched, I was half expecting some more real world input from his dead daughter, directing him somehow to the truth, paining on the windows, showing the locations of bodies or leading him to find the small, metal house off of her bracelet which we often saw the murderer twirl between his fingers, but no such thing actually happened. Maybe I was expecting a more typical, cliché way of resolving this murder case, simply due to having seen many similar movies, when in fact that's not what the movie was about. We do see him finally being exposed, but at the point when his crimes are revealed, Suzie doesn't care anymore. She just wants to complete the last chapter of her life and take off to wherever she went. Move on. Maybe that's what this was all about. Let the family forget and live. Let her forget and leave.
All in all, a decent, emotional and brooding film, asking some important questions about our own approach to death. Not just as the ones that lose their beloved, but also as the grim reaper's subjects, which, essentially, we all are.