Tuesday, April 20, 2010
THE LOVELY BONES (2009) / *
Distributor: Paramount (DreamWorks)
Release Date: December 11, 2009
Genre: Drama / Thriller
Running Time: 135 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13
“The Lovely Bones” is a curious film to me for many reasons. There was just so much about it that I couldn’t figure out. Why is there a character who can see, and at opportune times, turn into dead people? How can a feeble old man get something very heavy out his basement and into his car on his own without arousing any suspicion? How can so many talented people be involved in something so trite and, quite frankly, stupid?
Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan stars as Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old girl in the late 1970s. Her life seems perfectly normal. Her passion is photography. One day she runs into a man from the neighborhood, George Harvey (Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci), and he wants to show her something. He’s made an underground clubhouse of sorts for the neighborhood children, and wants Susie to check it out for him. Against her better judgment, she goes down there with him, and it’s the last decision she’ll ever make. George Harvey murders Susie Salmon. I’m told what he does in the book is much, much worse, but thankfully the film spares gory details.
But back to the previous sentence: George Harvey murders Susie Salmon. That is no mystery, and that fact is evident from every trailer, so I offer no spoiler alert. George Harvey kills Susie Salmon. We know this from the beginning, yet the idiot police officers can’t catch him. Therefore there’s no mystery to the film, and watching everyone else try to figure out what we already know becomes more frustrating than anything else.
So instead of being a mystery as trailers somewhat presented it to be, “Bones” tries to be a human drama about losing a child. Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg and Oscar winner Rachel Weisz play Susie’s parents Jack and Abigail. Wahlberg does the best he can with the terrible dialogue he’s given, and Weisz is fine when she’s not exiled picking fruit for reasons not adequately explained. Another Oscar winner, Susan Sarandon plays Abigail’s mother in an attempt at comic relief that falls flat every time.
The film admittedly has some impressive visuals but the story is so weak that I couldn’t be convinced to care about them. Oscar winning director Peter Jackson made his name on combining visual effects with pathos in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, but the attempts here are clumsy at best. The best scene in the movie, when Susie’s sister Lindsay (Rose McIver) breaks into George Harvey’s house, is a skillfully done scene that gets the blood pumping. However, given that Lindsay procured enough evidence to arrest George, NOTHING happens after this scene. What a waste of time.
The last 30 minutes or so of the movie descend into clown shoe idiocy, with the least satisfying conclusion possible. The actors are all game, and they can’t be faulted for the terrible screenplay and ham-fisted direction.
Theater: RDM Westroads 14, Omaha, NE
Time: 415 pm
Date: February 10, 2010