Saturday, 28 September 2013


If I'd known that this was going to be as harrowing as I actually found it I might well have had second thoughts about going. I guessed that it wasn't going to be comfortable viewing but after two and a half hours it felt like having been put emotionally through the wringer.
My receptivity wasn't helped one bit by the very opening scene, being the clearly real shooting of a deer in a wood, and then a bit later by seeing a dog hoisted up by its collar and allowed to dangle, though only for a few seconds, but obviously in distress. Neither of these acts was absolutely essential to the film. So anyone who shares my sensitivities in this area might care to take note. (Coincidentally, just before going into the cinema, I witnessed a scruffy-looking chap, who may well have been the worse for drink, wth a dog on a string walking in front of him, which he yanked violently back, shouting at it, making the dog cower and look up to its master with frightened eyes. {Of course, as we all know, dogs can understand every word of their master's language!} I do so hate to see that. I always want to go up to the abusive person and ask if I can have the poor creature to bring home with me. So that put me in an unfortunate state of mind before the film even began.)

The story concerns the baffling disappearance of two girls, one six years old, the other slightly older, while playing together outside during the visit of one pair of parents (father, Hugh Jackman, a religious-orientated being with a most unfetching beard) to their friends.
Jake Gyllenhall is the detective who takes the case. When the chief suspect is released because of lack of evidence (this is near the start of the film so, hopefully, not a spoiler) Jackman, on a short fuse (understandably in the circumstances) decides to act on his own. Revealing further than that would be a spoiler.
Gyllenhall appears to be more level-headed but. as his frustration mounts, he turns out to be something of a simmering volcano. Both these main stars are in superb form. I've never seen Jackman 'losing it' to the extent that he does here.

There are a number of effective suspenseful moments, some very violent scenes with a grisly measure of gore - and, while we were being kept in the dark as to what actually did happen to the girls for almost the entire time, I didn't foresee the solution to the conundrum.

Even more than with some of the films I evaluate I think my rating for this film will reflect my own reaction which included a fair degree of discomfort - generally rather than relating to the specific instances I've mentioned, which are individual and personal. As a thriller delivering the goods it certainly passes muster. I'll give it............7/10.


  1. I've been sitting on the fence about this one. Thanks to your review, I'm off the fence. Not even Jakie nor Hugh can tempt me to see this.

  2. I don't think I could see this one. I have a problem sleeping after anything like this. and anything too violent. I will give this a wide berth.

    I tried to read the book, Lovely Bones twice. I got so far and I could read any further. too dark and depressing for me. And it being that she was kidnapped and raped and killed was too much for me. everyone else at work thought it was great. not for me. not for me

  3. Paul - pleased to have done you the favour of helping you avoid some mental anguish. I think you'd have found this as tough a watch as I did.

    Sol - I think you made a wise decision as, like me, you seem to be not thick-skinned. It's not a film to dismiss with ease.
    I've actually read 'Lovely Bones' twice - and have it in the cardboard box of my 'yet to read' books, as it's possible I might want to go through it yet one more time. It is powerful, as was to some extent the film in quite a different, though less successful way. I think this is a case where our 'buttons' don't quite coincide. If the story had involved the killing of animals I wouldn't have been able to get through it. 'Wrong', I know, but such is my psyche. Not that I don't find child murder (or ANY murder) profoundly disturbing, but no sociiety sanctions those (or, at least, they shouldn't) whereas animal killing is not only widespread but specifically endorsed by many states and religions.
    But thanks for expressing your own very personal thoughts here, which are as valid as anyone else's.

  4. Oh, I wish I were grown-up like you and actually went OUT to the movies (as the United-States-of-Americans say). Here I sit waiting for these to show up on cable. You've created quite a list!

  5. Mitch, thanks for the flattery, but cinema-going is the one 'luxury' I still have in life, having had to relinquish all the others due to inadequate funds. But if, as a by-product, I can point others to some potential means of entertainment for themselves then it makes my little efforts all the more worthwhile.

  6. Not my cup of tea, these types of movies
    While I don't want to see them, I often want to hear about the story/how does it end. But no one will tell me!

    1. Yes, it wouldn't have been for me either if I'd known more about it beforehand, though now I've seen it, no real regrets.
      I'd gladly tell you the end were it not that my 'spoiler' might be caught by anyone reading this blog who still wanted to see it. As most of the tension derives from the audience not knowing what happened to the girls then it would be a shame to dispel that by revealing it here. So, sorry! ;-)