Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2010
In Peter Jackson’s latest hand-crafted effort, a 14-year-old girl (an excellent Saoirse Ronan—Atonement) explains at the outset that she has been murdered but is camping out in some kind of digitally beautiful (and slightly distracting) purgatory until her killer (a wonderfully creepy Stanley Tucci) is discovered. I liked it a lot, but apparently those who have read Alice Sebold’s 2002 bestseller have been disappointed. Those who have not, however, and who accept the film on its own are in for a tense, highly enjoyable, if squirmy, unconventional mystery. Also Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Susan Sarandon.