Synopsis: A deceased girl watches over her family from heaven as they struggle to find her murderer.
Release Date: December 11, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Mystery, Drama
With some of the most visually stunning cinematography and special effects drawn out of a wildly imaginative mind the film fails to actually deliver a well planned and engaging plot even though the story shows so much promise. The Director, Peter Jackson, spent too much time focusing on the in-between, where the deceased Susie Salmon exists, and not enough time building up substance in the plot. The basis of the movie is the disappearance and assumed murder of the 14-year old Susie, and of course the search for her killer. All the while Susie is still present, in the in-between, constantly watching over her family and seeing the effects her death has on all of them. We know who killed Susie, it is no secret, but we never know exactly how it happened and to what degree she was attacked by her neighbor George Harvey, a sinfully creepy pedophilistic character played by Stanley Tucci. It is left to the viewer to infer through carefully planned imagery and scenes drawn from the memory of Susie herself. Nothing is done on a linear level or with complete rationality. Answers are never given and while we do not need to see her murder, something I myself think was an excellent choice by Jackson, we do feel the need to have closure. Not only for ourselves but for her family and the authorities. What occurs is incredibly powerful but it is far too drawn out and without clarity to keep a viewers full attention for the duration. Time almost feels as if it has stopped about halfway through and there will never be an end or a resolution to the story. When a semblance of it does hit, at the almost two hour mark, you have spent so much time waiting it does not have the impact one may expect.
The in-between. This is where Susie Salmon spends her time after being murdered. It is a wildly imaginative place where everything is either exceptionally bright and colorful or horrifying deceased and dying. Its creation depends on where her mind takes her at a specific moment. The visuals never cease to amaze and in part they are what keep you engaged in the film. Watching the effects play out and the new and exciting world Susie creates, and how it coincides with what is occurring in the real world, puts you in a state of wonderment. It is a flourishing world with dreamlike softness that holds the most horrible of secrets. This is an in-between one must experience to fully comprehend the magnitude of just how amazing are the special effects. The color palette alone, with its translucent sensibility, makes seeing the film more of an experience in avante garde delight than narrative structure.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Peter JacksonFran Walsh
- Producer(s): Fran WalshPhilippa BoyensPeter JacksonMark Wahlberg (Jack Salmon)
- Screenwriter(s): Rachel Weisz (Abigail Salmon)Susan Sarandon (Grandma Lynn)
- Story: Stanley Tucci (George Harvey)
- Cast: Saoirse Ronan (Susie Salmon)Michael Imperioli (Len Fenerman) Jabez OlssenAndrew LesnieNaomi Shohan
- Editor(s): Nancy Steiner
- Cinematographer: Brian EnoWeta Digital
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USAUK