The Lovely Bones
Fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is lured into a hidden clubhouse and is viciously murdered by her neighbour Mr Harvey (Stanley Tucci). Harvey is a predator with a deceiving ordinary appearance. All Susie can do is watch from the hereafter as her family slowly begins drifting apart while struggling to make sense of their loss. Susie bravely attempts to find her footing in her new home.
I'm pleased to say that there is no blood or torture or rape or any thing murderous shown in Susie's demise. There is a small amount of tension when Susie realises that Mr Harvey is actually kind of creepy and she is stuck inside the hidden clubhouse between him and the door. But that's it really; it's all muted imagery and a glimpse of reddish coloured clothing being shoved in a rubbish bag.
In a later scene where Susie sees Harvey in the bath covered in her blood is quite disturbing even if it's dreamlike. The book makes much of Susie's demise and I'm glad it wasn't depicted in the film, as it is very graphic.
The premise of the film is quite alarming but the storyline is quite uplifting. I felt happy that Susie was somewhere comforting and interacting with, now here's the weird thing, all the other people Harvey had killed. They find great comfort in each other.
I've read Alice Sebold's book, it's a very good story, imaginative and fresh. I also think Jackson did a great job directing and telling the story. It's subtle, it's heart-warming, heart wrenching and the cast are great. Ronan, Susan Sarandon, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Rachel Weiz are all top notch.
Jackson portrays Wahlberg as the Dad who can't let go, so he goes looking for clues and thinks Susie's photos may hold an answer. He has the photos developed and finds a surprising number have Mr Harvey lurking in them. He begins to suspect Harvey is Susie's killer and it's all down hill for Harvey from there. It's not so great for Wahlberg either as his whole family think he is acting crazily, as do the Police.
Harvey feels he has gotten away with Susie's murder and starts planning his next victim. He decides Lindsey Salmon, Susie's sister, is the one and starts stalking her. Lindsey suspects Harvey is the killer and breaks into his house to find clues. She finds some evidence and just barely gets away from Harvey.
Mr Harvey packs up and leaves town. We next see him at a Petrol Station far away where he tries to pick up a girl by offering her a lift. Susie is watching though and Harvey is standing right under a large icicle. It drops on his head and he falls over the cliff he was standing on.
The fact that this film had a positive ending for Susie was rewarding. Harvey getting his just desserts pulls this film out of the ordinary in my opinion.
The Lovely Bones made roughly $90mil Worldwide and was panned by critics. Again, I'm unsure why because despite the tragic, heart-wrenching and dark premise, the film is stirring, enchanting and evocatively beautiful throughout.