Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family - and her killer - from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal... Read allCenters on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family - and her killer - from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family - and her killer - from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.
Saoirse Ronan Through the Years
So coming back to the subject on hand, and since I did not read the novel, I can say without a pause, that the movie experience was decent enough to have had me glued to the screen from beginning to end. In her narrative, Saoirse Ronan (pronounced Ser-Sher) explains her character's tragic end and what happens after. As Susie Salmon, Ronan portrays a time in America when "do not talk to strangers" was an unheard-of caution; a time when children could roam freely and not have to live in fear of preying eyes. Sadly enough, talking to a stranger was the last thing Susie Salmon did, before being murdered, dismembered and never to be found again. But this is where her story begins, first discovering her own death, then being stranded between her overwhelming feeling of vengeance towards her murderer and watching her family suffer and tear apart during their untimely loss. It is at this juncture, or the "in-between", as she calls it, where Susie shockingly learns that she is not the first, but the most recent victim in a series of brutal murders.
Questionable by some critics, is Jackson's use of strong visual effects in portraying Susie's transition into the "in-between". After "King Kong" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, we see why Jackson is well endowed in the CGI department. That said, even having Steven Spielberg sign on as executive producer could not have influenced Jackson into telling Sebold's story in any other way but his. Visuals are crisp, abstract, and fluent while his color palette is deep yet intense with contrast, resulting in images that will push your Bluray player and HD display to the max. Is it needed in a murder mystery? Not really, because the plot is not much of a mystery; it is an innocent 14 year old girl's narration of the after-life. Again, this is where cinema CGI has the edge over raw imagination, especially when reading a book. As far as mystery is concerned, there is none. After school one day, Susie doesn't reach home because she has been lured into an underground den, specifically engineered to entice under aged girls. Her last moments are spent with her captor, a seemingly average Joe. Playing this monster is the versatile Stanley Tucci in what has to be one of his best roles thus far, deservingly earning his first Academy Award Nomination in a supporting role. Although his offering is top notch, you can't help but notice the utter darkness oozing out of his character. If the eyes are windows to the soul, then Tucci does an exceptional job as George Harvey, complete with that unmistakable flicker of evil in his eyes. Other supporting roles come from Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz as Susie's parents and Susan Sarandon as her grandmother. As always, Whalberg's rage-filled scenes are intense, but very rarely are his characters helpless. For the first time here, we get to see a combination of both. Sarandon's Grandma Lynn is questionable as this character does not add to the plot, nor can her inclusion be considered a sub-plot. But if there is ever a light moment throughout the film, it does come from Grandma Lynn. Another key character is played by Rose McIver as Susie's sister and in doing so, offers some of the film's intended suspense.
This film succeeds as a drama. As a thriller, it could have been better. Comparing internet reviews between the book and the film will tell you that Jackson has chosen to leave the gory details out to get a wider audience. Although there are no actual scenes of rape, murder and mutilation, the act is heavily suggested during parts of the film and this is why it has a PG-13 rating instead of an R.
- Jul 3, 2011