Well, maybe not the murder itself, which we don’t see, but the aftermath, where 14-year-old victim, Susie Salmon (Sairose Ronan), spends most of the movie running around in a glorious computer-generated Wonderland, courtesy of “Lord of the Rings” Director Peter Jackson.
When she’s not wallowing in Strawberry Fields and special effects resembling a shampoo commercial, Susie is watching agonized family members trying to solve her horrendous murder. Susie’s exercising psychic powers to influence father Jack (a shell-shocked Mark Wahlberg) and sister Lindsey (Rose McIver). Mother Abigail (Rachel Weisz), little brother Buckley (Thomas Ashdale) and boozy Grandma Lynn (Susan Sarandon, doing an out-ofplace, over-the-top comic turn) don’t seem too interested or in touch with Susie’s communications from the Twilight Zone.
Also unconcerned is Investigating Detective Len Feneman (Michael Imperioli), who doesn’t connect strange next-door neighbor George Harvey (Stanley Tucci) to the crime, though he lives alone working on his homemade dollhouse. We learn that Harvey’s house is loaded with evidence, including Susie’s dismembered corpse and a lock of her hair. He’s also a seasoned serial killer responsible for multiple prior murders. If Detective Feneman were on the Clutter murder case chronicled in Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood,” the culprits would still be footloose and fancy free.
Jackson’s “Bones” is a bizarre mishmash of movies: “Rings” Trilogy-CGI fantasy, “Silence of the Lambs” suspense and wacky Neil Simon comedy. Of the actors, only Tucci mysteriously survived intact with an Oscar nomination. Back off from the film of “Lovely Bones,” and stick with the book.