Monday, February 1, 2010

The Box & The Lovely Bones

More than any of my previous blogposts, this one has the potential to be completely random. And let me preface by saying that what I'm going to just utter forth on the lines below are all things that have been buzzing around in my mind for days now, and really I felt compelled to put them down on paper now as opposed to constructing separate blogposts for each one.

-What a clever film we find in THE BOX. You know how most of us have been programmed to watch TV or Movies, and regardless of the climate of the story, the conflict, or even the insurmountable odds of the characters, we always hold out that slight chance that in the very end there will be some redemption...some exemption...some get-out-of-jail-free-squeaky-clean-card...some loophole that circumvents negativity and sets things right in the universe...some Ace of Spade for the final trick.

Well, THE BOX doesn't exactly entertain that mirage. In fact, more than most films, it stays true to its form, not really allowing for the romantic rescue that we have become so sensitized in film today. The story actually reflects the principle of reaping and sowing, and that there are indeed inescapable consequences for our decisions. The writer/director of THE BOX, Richard Kelly, is no stranger to this idea of choices, intricate plot twists, and evolving realities. His brief resume includes Southland Tales and the cult-fav Donnie Darko.

All in all, THE BOX has some very tangible spiritual undertones...greed, love, sacrifice, contentment, victims, suffering, the afterlife, baptism, temptation...I would suggest that you only see it if you're ready to process some of those big life-items, no matter your place in the faith discussion. While it has a great cast, nice pacing, and even some humor for a period movie, it's not a daisies and roses story. Check it out if you dare!

Now, about this Peter Jackson flick, THE LOVELY BONES...well, it just wasn't so lovely to me. In fact, I found it to be quite a tease of a film. The book seemed to have a decent following before Jackson got the movie rolling, but from my vantage point, book sales have skyrocketed lately, particularly around the holidays. I have not read the book, but my wife has, and she really enjoyed it.

It was nice to see Saoirse Ronan (she also appeared in Atonement & City of Ember) not annoy me AS much in this was creepy how her voice narrations are the thread through the story, and it's very awkward when she keeps flirting with really going into the "wide heaven." I found this struggle a little weaksauce, despite her tragedy and love for her family. Wahlberg and Weisz were solid, Sarandon complimentary, but Stanley Tucci steals the movie. He's Dark and Demented (capital "D's"), and really made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up out of fear for my own kids. In fact, I didn't find the supernatural retribution the book and movie lay out for his demise gratifying at all...I suppose as a father I wanted some earthly justice, ya know?

All in all, it's a solid movie...would it ruin it for you if I mentioned that the author of the story, Alice Sebold, is a rape survivor from her college days @ Syracuse, who eventually single-handedly identified and testified against her attacker? While I celebrate HER story, it would be nice if her novels offered more of that kind of closure. THE LOVELY BONES was sort of Law and Order: SVU meets What Dreams May Come. Not too shabby, but not really sure of what it wants to be, ya know? Enjoy it if you must.

1 comment:

Tim...your movie friend said...

I really enjoyed LOVELY BONES--but for reasons entirely different. Understanding my own background of loss, I felt the film's message of healing (both for Susie and her family) outweighed even the murder/mystery plot. I also felt that Susie's time in the "in-between" showed a teen's own angst--and how her world was shaped by her own feelings and thoughts. I also thought it was a very beautiful film--but understand my own bias.