Viewed – 03 July 2010 Blu-ray
Generally I will watch anything by Peter Jackson, certainly one of the most imaginative and visionary directors around, and this latest offering certainly intrigued me with its dark but fantastical premise. Suzy Salmon is a young girl who is murdered and finds herself in a dream-like afterlife between our world and heaven, but can’t fully pass on until her murderer is caught, or her family learn to move on from her death. Her father (Mark Wahlberg) becomes obsessed with finding out who killed his daughter as time passes with few leads, and all along we know who did it and await the killer’s comeuppance with bated breath, feeling for Suzy and her family as the tragedy gradually tares everone apart.
This admittedly macabre tale is brought to life by the central performance of Saoirse Ronan, a relative newcomer and a perfect choice for the role, handling the material with a maturity beyond her years, and carrying the movie with real emotional power. Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the best-selling novel by Alice Sebold is both uplifting and spiritual but at times disturbing and difficult to watch, with Stanley Tucci’s child-murderer certainly convincing as an unexpecting everyday guy hiding a terrible secret. At times the film drags its heels a little, and the fantasy world of Suzy’s afterlife can pull the viewer out of the human-drama at the centre of the story, but overall this is an accomplished, magical movie that expertly handles very powerful material without sugar-coating it, and in Saoirse Ronan, we have a new talent to look out for.
I must mention how glorious this movie looks on Blu-ray, with the dreamy ‘in between’ world boasting amazing colour and a unique, almost crayon-like pallet. The effects work is also beautifully showcased. That’s not to mention that the other parts of the movie don’t excel, as Jackson has bathed everything in a vibrant colour scheme and the detail can not be argued. A definite showcase title.
Verdict: 4 /5