It won't surprise you that to
She's stuck in purgatory, watching her family struggle and splinter over her death. Her father (
Jackson's mystical thriller is about closure, but offers little of that. Though properly chilling when it's supposed to be, it's a film whose effects, script and performances keep it at arm's length when it is supposed to be moving.
Before that fateful day, Susie was a happy teen living in a happy home (
But "I wasn't safe," she narrates. "A man in my neighborhood was watching me."
The dread we feel awaiting the crime — told in flashback — is heartbreaking. We meet the killer (
What we don't see in advance is how the murder will affect others, the ways Susie is felt by those who loved her — glimpses straight out of "Ghost." She can't pass on messages, can't point them to the killer, can't have her revenge.
"Bones" is Jackson's "What Lies Beneath," that
crossroads movie when a filmmaker who has marshaled an army to do other
projects steps back and tries to make something leaner, simpler. Like
Zemeckis moved on to make gigantic, motion capture enterprises such as "The Polar Express," techno-films. Jackson may yet end up returning to Middle Earth. If this movie tells him anything, it's that his skills are as sharp as ever, but that he and his screenwriting team have lost the human sense of scale.
The Lovely Bones
2 1/2 stars
Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Industry rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving disturbing violent content and images, and some language
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