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Lovely Bones, The


Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, Michael Imperioli, Rose McIver, Jake Abel

Director: Peter Jackson

Occasionally suspenseful but severely mishandled version of Alice Sebold's great novel about a murdered 14-year-old, Susie Salmon (Ronan), who narrates the story of the subsequent relationship of her parents and the hunt for the pervert (Tucci) who did away with her.

Irish actress Ronan, ideally cast, anchors the story brilliantly for the first half-hour, but is then allowed to drift out of events, occasionally breaking into the narrative for CeeBeebies-style frolics in Heaven, or wherever, and more sinister jaunts around a limbo-before-Heaven. Instead, the plot focuses on the creepy perpetrator, and his gradual obsession with the second Salmon sister, well played by McIver.

Alas, the film drags on and on, with increasing reliance on CGI effects. The credits at the end drag on forever, too, including 44 drivers, 11 'data wranglers' and a plane spotter. It's a modern madness that's got to stop.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Paramount (DreamWorks/Film 4). Colour.
134 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Feb 2010