Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

The Lovely Bones (12a)

Peter Jackson, having delighted the world as Ringmaster of the epic Tolkien trilogy, has gone for a change of style in adapting Alice Sebold's bestselling novel The Lovely Bones – and come a terrible cropper.

This is one of those big portentous movies about Heaven – What Dreams May Come and Contact are of the same unlovely stripe – though it masquerades as a family drama. Saoirse Ronan plays 14-year-old schoolgirl Susie, who narrates the story of her own murder, in 1973, at the hands of a neighbourhood psycho (Stanley Tucci) in suburban Pennsylvania. From some otherworldly place, she observes how her disappearance – her body has not been found – affects the lives of her parents (Rachel Weisz and Mark Wahlberg), her sister and a local girl who is apparently sensitive to ghosts. "I was alive in my own perfect world," which Jackson conjures in a grandiose outpouring of digimated imagery: flowing landscapes, golden cornfields, ships-in-bottles and polychromatic flowers, all apparently meant to blind us with transcendent shock and awe. In fact, none of it looks as remarkable as the blue of Saoirse Ronan's eyes. It is the kind of film that falls over itself trying to dazzle us, and makes an unholy mess of the vital workaday stuff. For example: when the killer has to dump a huge iron safe into a refuse pit, why does he park his truck so far away, obliging him to haul it inch-by-inch across the ground for several minutes?

Jackson has taken the temperature of a heated adolescent girlhood before, in Heavenly Creatures (1994), and caught something genuinely spooky. This, on the other hand, is all about adult self-indulgence, principally Wahlberg's despairing dad and Susan Sarandon's brassy (and irrelevant) grandmother. Jackson is guilty of it, too, in allowing this massively overproduced farrago to run away from him. Where the book offered a sense of the uncanny, this achieves only a mawkish, Norman Rockwell-style vision of the beyond. It is silly, tedious, tasteless and utterly false.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News

Horoscopes

Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Leo:

A hospital, university or government agency could give you the paperwork you require to move ahead. Establish a friendship with an official who can serve as an advocate for you. Avoid getting entangled with a legal matter. Launching a lawsuit will cause more problems than it is worth. You're better off walking away from a troublemaker who has lots of time to waste in the court system. Cut your losses and focus on making a fresh start. You have the ability to build a secure financial future.More