Movie Review – Jasper Jones

Written by MB

Let me say right off, I just loved this movie. Arthouse in the very best sense of the word. Screenplay in harmony with what hits the screen. Sensitive directing complementing beautiful cinematography and music, and superb acting. The story ringing true to the end. Not an artistic compromise in sight. A lesson in love in so many shades and spades.

No one really needs to be told the story. So many will have read Craig Silvey’s book of the same name. But there’s no need to have done so. The film has its own life. Girl disappears. Indigenous loner is suspected of foul play. Throw in a little Mockingbird in the Deep South – this time in Western Australia. And then add magnificent Karri trees, a timeless timber town, some displaced souls, the glory of youth, the disappointment of adulthood and a microcosm of festering evil. You know good will triumph and new beginnings will follow. And it does, and they will.

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The director, Rachel Perkins has delivered perfectly timed cameos from Dan Wyllie, Toni Collette and Hugo Weaving. Then there are the young actors – Aaron McGrath, tremulous as Jasper; Kevin Long, who totally gets Jeffery Lu from the book; and a star turn from Angourie Rice – what a screen presence! And to make the movie the movie that it is, Perkins has conjured an unbelievably mature and nail hitting performance from the absolute star of the show, Levi Miller. To complement all that, there is the lush cinematography of Mike Wareham and the unobtrusive soundtrack that works away in the sideground, made perfect with a 1969 Easybeats number and a perfectly pitched original score by Antony Partos.

The book is much loved – and movies based on loved books always attract their share of critics – but the movie may be better! Perhaps the book has a greater edginess, making you worry constantly about Jasper, but this movie – with a screenplay written by Shaun Grant and Silvey – guarantees that the legend of Jasper Jones will endure as a classic Australian coming of age story for years to come. Don’t go if you’re wanting our Hugh or Angelina in superhero action mode, or a precise re-creation of the book. But do go if you’re in need of an uplifting movie experience.

What more to say? Just see it. And be ready to swoon.

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