The Chase Continues

French Connection II kept the train going a little longer. After the success of The Godfather Part II, a sequel to Best Picture winner The French Connection seemed like a good idea. Even though I never heard of it beforehand. It’s a strong follow up, but it does take away from the ambiguity of the first film’s ending. New York police officer Popeye Doyle never caught his French assailant Alain Charnier.

French Connection II continues the chase and gives Gene Hackman more time to shine in his Oscar winning role. Directing reigns were handed over to John Frankenheimer, while Roy Schneider was too busy making Jaws. Popeye is now all by himself in Marseille, France. He deals with the language barrier, has trouble ordering drinks, fails to pick up French women, and can’t carry a gun. All while attempting to work with the French police department in order to catch his Frog.

Fernando Rey is the only other returning cast member. Charnier is still a sophisticated drug trafficker who proves increasingly difficult to catch. The pacing is a lot slower with more time dedicated to Popeye being forced into a heroin addiction. It’s only after he gets clean that Popeye becomes the violent cop in desperate pursuit again. The sequel ends with a decent chase from the streets to a rail bus. Popeye loses Charnier once more on a yacht, but I knew they wouldn’t end another movie without a resolution. French Connection II offers closure to an already perfect crime thriller.

French Connection II

Popeye Doyle gives chase

Preceded by: The French Connection

Missing the Train

The French Connection changed the rules in Hollywood. Considered to be one of the greatest movies of all time, The French Connection feels realistic with documentary style filmmaking, flawed protagonists, and a real life drug smuggling case at the center. Based on a 1969 book about two police detectives involved in the titular case. Before The Exorcist, Superman, or Jaws, director William Friedkin and stars Gene Hackman and Roy Schneider hit the mean streets of New York. Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle is an iconic police officer distinguished by his pork pie hat. Even his entrance dressed as Santa Claus is iconic.

Popeye Doyle isn’t exactly a crooked cop, but he does drink, sleep around, disobey orders, and show many racist tendencies. Seeing him shakedown a bar full of narcotics is when I knew he meant business. Popeyes actually got its name from Doyle. Although he faced stiff competition, Hackman was the best casting choice. Just as good is Schneider as his more cautious partner Buddy “Cloudy” Russo. Together they perform stakeouts in order to track a drug smuggling ring with a French connection. I don’t always understand police procedurals, but I gathered that it was all about stopping the flow of heroin into the U.S. Alain Charnier is a dapper French criminal with multiple hitmen under his thumb.

The French Connection is best known for its exciting chase scenes. Popeye pursuing Charnier in a subway is tense, but it’s a later car chase that really steals the show. Popeye in a civilian car pursuing a sniper on a train concludes with an exhausted Doyle shooting the assailant in the back. His almost obsessive need to catch the criminal ends on a suitably ambiguous note where the chase never truly ends. The French Connection is a Best Picture winner I knew I had to prioritize. No matter how many cop movies I’ve seen. It also won Best Director, Actor, Screenplay, Film Editing, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Cinematography, and Sound. The French Connection marked a welcomed shift towards realism at the Academy Awards.

The French Connection

Popeye Doyle waves

Followed by: French Connection II

Operation Neptune Spear

Zero Dark Thirty chronicles the decade long manhunt for Osama bin Laden. It was the natural follow up to The Hurt Locker for Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow and her journalist screenwriter Mike Boal. Their original intention was to make a film about the 2001 Battle of Tora Bora, but all that changed when bin Laden was killed. Zero Dark Thirty was released only a year after 2011 Operation Neptune Spear. The military themed movie was met with understandable critical acclaim and Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. It only won Best Sound Editing in a rare tie with Skyfall.

Although Zero Dark Thirty wasn’t without controversy. However factual, I view the film as matter of fact without getting into any moral or political discussions. Although I was 6 years old, I was too young to fully understand 9/11. I remember learning about bin Laden’s death very clearly. Zero Dark Thirty only depicts 9/11 as an audio recording. The true focus is on the almost obsessive manhunt by fictional CIA analyst Maya Harris. Jessica Chastain commands attention throughout. She’s joined by an all-star cast that includes Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong, Kyle Chandler, James Gandolfini, and Jason Clarke as fellow CIA officers.

The latter participates in uncomfortable torture methods in order to extract information. Most of the time is dedicated to finding any lead connected to bin Laden. Other terror attacks follow before the Abbottabad compound is located. The Navy SEAL compound raid is a highlight of the movie that captures the tense atmosphere in total darkness. SEAL Team 6 consists of Joel Edgerton and majority Marvel actors like Chris Pratt, Mike Colter, Frank Grillo, and Callan Mulvey. Bin Laden’s death brings a sign of relief, but the impact will never truly go away. Zero Dark Thirty does the best with the facts it was given.

Zero Dark Thirty

Maya Harris oversees Navy SEAL Team 6

Stupid Bunny Suit

S. Darko is another inferior sequel released too many years later for anyone to care. Donnie Darko has a lot of cult appeal that can’t really be replicated. That didn’t stop them from trying anyway. S. Darko refers to Samantha Darko, sister of the late Donnie Darko from the first film. She wanders the road with her vapid best friend Corey. They wind up in a small town where several disturbances try to mimic the original.

Except the new cast of characters can’t back things up. You know you’re in trouble if Jackson Rathbone and Elizabeth Berkley were the best they could do. Although I have a personal appreciation for Daveigh Chase, her role is essentially a less interesting substitute for her brother. Now Sam is the one hallucinating, facing an end of the world scenario, and using the confusing time travel of the original. Only none of the minor alterations make it any less derivative.

An imaginary rabbit is replaced by an undead Sam (Samara Morgan she is not). The end is now 5 days before the 4th of July in 1995. Time travel is used twice in order to make the entire movie feel utterly pointless. Two separate deaths are reversed and the world nearly ends via meteor shower. Religious commentary is handled with far less grace. Meanwhile, the iconic bunny suit is only used as a recognizable image. S. Darko is just as unnecessary as it sounds.

S Darko

Sam and Justin stare at each other

Preceded by: Donnie Darko

It’s a Very Very Mad World

Donnie Darko can’t be fully understood in one viewing. No wonder it gained a cult following. I’ve always known about Donnie Darko, but I had no clue how any of its themes tied together. Although I don’t always understand it, the themes are put to effective use. Only a first time independent director like Richard Kelly could think of something so complex. Drew Barrymore saw its potential by financing the film, but Donnie Darko continued to face production problems. Real world tragedies like 9/11 caused the movie to flop. While there is a plane crash in the movie, I think it was the bleak tone. Donnie Darko is an intelligent troubled youth with paranoid schizophrenia. Jake Gyllenhaal fully understands how to make him angsty but likeable. Some scenes were a lot more funny than I was expecting.

Donnie Darko is a little undefinable with elements of science fiction, psychological thriller, and coming-of-age. Darko narrowly escapes death when a jet engine falls on his bedroom. He survives thanks to his creepy imaginary 6ft. rabbit Harvey Frank who tells him about the end of the world. Only 28 days before Halloween in October 1988. The movie was also written and filmed in only 28 days. So Donnie spends most of his time unknowingly affecting others and committing several petty crimes under Frank’s influence. Donnie Darko has a far more impressive cast than I realized. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mary McDonnell, and Daveigh Chase play members of the Darko family.

Katharine Ross plays Donnie’s active psychiatrist and Jenna Malone plays his equally troubled girlfriend Gretchen. Drew Barrymore is also part of the cast as a hip teacher who inspires Donnie. Meanwhile, Beth Grant plays the much more fundamentalist gym teacher. Her scenes include a surprise appearance from Patrick Swayze as a motivational speaker. I was more surprised to see Seth Rogen, Ashley Tisdale, and Jerry Trainor in their earliest film roles. Donnie begins to show interest in time travel, but the movie’s approach requires a book called The Philosophy of Time Travel written by a local crazy woman. When the clock does run out, time takes things to an unexpected conclusion. Donnie Darko: The Director’s Cut may explain things better, but I prefer the thought provoking ambiguity of a very very mad world.

Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko in a theater with Gretchen and Frank

Followed by: S. Darko

It’s Only a Matter of Time

Old doesn’t age well. After completing his surprise Unbreakable trilogy, Old became M. Night Shyamalan’s first original thriller since The Visit. I say original, but it’s actually based on an obscure French graphic novel called Sandcastle. Shyamalan simply gave it a more literal title and a twist that’s expected at this point. Old seemed like it could either be a second return to form or another awkward mess. I’m happy to say he gets it somewhere down the middle. Old is a genuine so bad it’s good Shyamalan flick on par with The Happening. I saw it by myself and couldn’t contain my laughter. Right from the start we get Shyamalan’s signature awkward dialogue and clunky storytelling.

Character’s literally ask people their name and occupation. Guy and Prisca are a foreign couple vacationing with their children Maddox and Trent. Old isn’t remotely scary, but the concept of rapidly aging on a beach is. It’s a beautiful location that Shyamalan shoots in his usual “artsy” way. Shyamalan’s cameo more directly affects the plot. It involves the rest of the resort goers who end up on the mysterious beach. There’s Charles, his much younger wife Chrystal, their 6 year old daughter Kara, and grandmother. There’s also the interracial couple Patricia and Jarin. Along with a rapper who was there before they showed up.

Although it tries to have the horror of Jaws with a very naked skinny dipper and surprisingly bloody PG-13 moments, the rules don’t always add up. People age at different rates with the kids almost immediately aging into Alex Wolff and Thomasin McKenzie. Of course it is a little uncomfortable to think about kids suddenly going through puberty. Since time speeds up more than just their bodies. As the cast gets smaller, the entertainment value sorta drops. I definitely predicted some variation of the twist, but it gets old real fast. With several ups and downs, Old is a lot like the actual aging process in its execution.

Old

Older Maddox and Trent on a beach

Send in the Clowns

Joker put a spotlight on the Clown Prince of Crime. For better or worse, Joker exceeded expectations in the process. I don’t think I’m too far off in saying the Joker is the greatest supervillain of all time. The psychotic criminal clown is the perfect archenemy for the brooding Dark Knight. Although I always root for the hero, I can’t deny how entertaining the Joker is in every incarnation of his 8 decade history. He’s been the most famous evil clown in history, ever since his 1940 debut in Batman #1. He was supposed to be killed off, but the Joker’s popularity endured him as Batman’s greatest enemy. It’s ironic that Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson couldn’t agree on who created the Joker.

Since he’s never had a definitive origin. Its always been part of the intrigue to think someone could be so psychotic with virtually no explanation. Part of the reason why I was against a Joker origin story. Even if it was separate from the inconsistent DCEU, I wasn’t especially crazy about the supervillain solo movie trend that started with Venom. The first trailer wasn’t at all what I was expecting and the R rating made Joker seem more like a thriller than a simple comic book movie. I was still on the fence about a Batman movie without Batman, but I guess it worked for Gotham on TV. Despite an unnecessary amount of controversy and a laughably low 68% on Rotten Tomatoes, Joker rightfully became the first DC movie nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards…

15. Joker

Arthur Fleck becomes Joker

Joker is a character study that shouldn’t work as well as it does. Which is why comic books deserve way more credit for introducing such complex individuals. The Joker was always meant to be a crazy, but intelligent serial killer hidden under a permanent grin and clown motif. His most iconic look has always consisted of chalk white skin, green hair, a red smile, and a purple suit. Although he’s never had a definitive name or origin, the Red Hood falling into a vat of Ace chemicals tends to be the favorite. The Joker maintained his violent tendencies throughout the Golden Age, but the Silver Age turned him into a prankster with goofy gag weapons. Most kid friendly interpretations tend to lean on the clown’s silly side. It wasn’t until the Bronze Age that the Clown Prince of Crime got his edge back.

The Joker has had a profound impact on Batman’s life ever since. From killing Jason Todd (Robin) in “A Death in the Family” to paralyzing Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke. Not to mention his disturbingly unhinged portrayal in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. I’m not a fan of the more sadistic Joker in recent comics, but it is fascinating to think about the many ways you can interpret one character. Joker actors have always brought something new to the man who laughs. Cesar Romero was a creative colorful comedian perfect for Adam West’s Batman. Jack Nicholson was already an Oscar winning actor who practically stole the show as his darkly comedic version from Tim Burton’s Batman. The 1989 movie made use of his chemical toxin origin, controversially made him the killer of Bruce Wayne’s parents, and gave him the name Jack Napier.

Luke Skywalker himself Mark Hamill, is arguably the greatest Joker who debuted in Batman: The Animated Series on top of several animated movies and video games. Heath Ledger was on a whole other level as the most grounded Joker to date in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. He’s my personal favorite portrayal in a performance that more than earned an Oscar after his untimely death. Oscar winner Jared Leto sounded like a good idea for the DCEU’s Suicide Squad, but his overly edgy gangster Joker is laughable for all the wrong reasons. Turns out Joaquin Phoenix wanted to do a low-budget DC supervillain character study for years. His methodical acting style wouldn’t have worked for Marvel or any other franchise character. Ironically, Todd Phillips similarly wanted to direct a grounded comic book movie. Although horror directors were proving themselves in lighthearted DC movies like Aquaman or Shazam!, Phillips was a comedy director who proved himself with the darkest DC movie of all time.

Thanks to the success of Deadpool and Logan, Joker more than earns its R rating. Joker is meant to be a Martin Scorsese style thriller from the 70’s. Specifically Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. An 80’s Warner Bros. logo is used, while the DC label is nowhere to be seen. The soundtrack makes appropriate use of songs like “Send in the Clowns,” Smile,” and “That’s Life.” Although it was unlike any superhero movie I’ve ever seen, I knew I couldn’t miss it. No matter how controversial the movie became. People preemptively decided Joker would inspire real life crime, while critics seemed to attack the movie for its treatment of mental illness. Although some people think this is a sympathetic take on a remorseless supervillain, it’s way more complicated than that. Joker delivers a matter of fact interpretation of a mentally ill loner in a society that abandoned him and treats him like trash.

Though I was afraid this would be a definitive origin, the “unreliable narration” approach keeps things ambiguous. This version of the Joker is Arthur Fleck. Despite not existing in the comics, it’s still weird that they’d call him Arthur when Aquaman already has that name. Joaquin Phoenix has the long hair of Heath Ledger, but his portrayal is totally different. Phoenix became practically anorexic after losing a ton of weight for the role. He’s also a chainsmoker, but the biggest distinction is his trademark Joker laugh being a neurological condition. Arthur’s uncontrollable laughter is so distinct that it’s impossible not to play along. You can tell how much Arthur is suffering thanks to Phoenix’s stellar performance. Parallels to Taxi Driver can be seen in a 1981 Gotham City that’s rat infested with piles of garbage creating tension between its citizens. Swearing only occurs when necessary, but they don’t hold back on uncomfortable violence.

Arthur is a party clown with dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian. Forcing himself to smile is disturbing, but it’s hard not to understand how difficult his life is when kids beat him with his own sign. Arthur has a therapist who doesn’t listen, co-workers who don’t respect him, and a mother who tells him to put on a happy face. Although I wasn’t completely sure how much of the Batman story would be involved, this was the first movie to give Thomas Wayne significant attention. I’m just glad Brett Cullen played him instead of Alec Baldwin. Thomas Wayne is a more controversial figure running for Mayor of Gotham. Frances Conroy plays Arthur’s mother Penny Fleck as an equally mentally ill woman trying to reach out to Wayne. Arthur is like Travis Bickle for his descent into madness and surge of power when a fellow party clown gives him a gun.

When the gun gets him fired, Arthur uses it to murder three drunken Wayne Enterprises businessmen who harass him on a subway train. Another moment that’s difficult not to understand his side of. Arthur comes one step closer to becoming Joker while dancing to the music in his head. Zazie Beetz has her second comic book role after Deadpool 2 as single mother Sophie Dumond. Her cynical attitude gains Arthur’s attention and he somehow starts a relationship with her after the subway murders give him confidence. Parallels to The King of Comedy are unmistakable since Arthur is obsessed with a talk show host named Murray Franklin. Martin Scorsese may have dropped out as producer, but getting Robert De Niro to play the host is perfect full circle casting. Similar to Rupert Pupkin, Arthur has delusions of Murray embracing him like a son.

Arthur’s failed stand-up routine only stands out for his uncontrollable laughter. Nudity is only seen in his journal/joke book. His hopes are crushed when Murry makes fun of his stand-up routine on his show. Although he feels like a success, Arthur’s life takes a downward spiral when it’s implied Thomas Wayne might be his father. A disturbing scene of Arthur at Wayne Manor is when we see a young Bruce Wayne. Dante Pereira-Olson doesn’t have much to say, but Arthur trying to entertain his future archenemy is unforgettable. Douglas Hodge is a similarly flawed Alfred who tells Arthur that his mother was delusional. Things get worse when his mother suffers a stroke and the police show up with questions about the recent clown related murders.

A murder that sparks a movement of sympathizers who target the rich Thomas Wayne for his comments about the less fortunate. Arthur’s supporters dressed as clowns are disturbingly close to reality. Arthur confronts his potential father, but Thomas doubles down on Penny being delusional and punches him in the face for touching Bruce. He seeks answers at the future Arkham Asylum, but his answers are far worse than he thought. SPOILER ALERT! Arthur was actually adopted, abused by his mother at a young age, and developed a mental illness over time. Fleck is so far gone that the entire relationship he had with Sophie was all in his head. Her ultimate fate is best left ambiguous. His mother’s fate isn’t ambiguous when Arthur coldly realizes his life is a comedy while smothering her to death. Things start to turn around when Arthur is invited onto The Murray Franklin Show.

Apart from his traditional party clown attire, Arthur truly becomes Joker when his old clown buddies drop by. The guy who ratted him out is brutally murdered with a pair of scissors, but the little person who was nice to him is spared. It’s easily the most bloody act in the movie followed by pitch black comedy when he can’t reach the lock. Arthur Fleck Joker is different from any other version of the clown. He’s got the long green hair and white makeup, but he looks more clownlike with a red nose, smile, and blue diamond eyes. Some people might call his suit purple, but I think it’s more of a maroon color. His look is as instantly iconic as Joker’s improvised dance on stairs from the Bronx, New York. It was a far bigger takeaway than what people assumed would happen after the movie’s release. The police catch up to Joker and begin a pursuit in the midst of clown protests. Joker takes advantage of it by inciting a riot that gets the officers attacked.

Although far from a traditional climax, Joker on a talk show is a comic accurate reworking of a moment from The Dark Knight Returns. Arthur requests Murray refer to him as Joker before entering the show with another little dance. The building tension of the scene is masterful as Joker tries to win over the crowd and Murray continues to make fun of him. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen when he admits to killing people. Despite the warning signs, Murray doesn’t stop the show. He engages Joker in an intense discussion about society until he’s suddenly shot. The death of Murray Franklin happens live and incites an even worse riot. Batman begins with an R rated depiction of Thomas & Martha Wayne being murder in front of Bruce by Joe Chill in a clown mask. Joker is also born while wearing a bloody smile in front of an adoring crowd of anarchists.

The movie ends on another ambiguous note of Arthur in a mental hospital laughing to himself. Joker was nominated for Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. I was fine with the nominations since it won the most deserving awards. Hildur Guðnadóttir won Best Original Score for her haunting cello music. Joaquin Phoenix finally won Best Actor after being nominated for Gladiator, Walk the Line, and The Master. Since Heath Ledger also won an Oscar for playing the Joker, that made them the second pair of actors to win for playing the same character. Ironically, after Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro each won for Vito Corleone. All the pushback was meaningless when Joker became the first R rated movie to gross a billion dollars. Joker is like a joke that only so many people will understand.

16. Joker

Joker dances on stairs

Death Bed

Gerald’s Game is the successful result of a Stephen King novel once thought unfilmable. Although published in 1992, it took until 2017 for Netflix to figure out this intense story of survival. Director Mike Flanagan already made the similar horror movie Hush as something of a warm up. Both movies take place in one secluded location where a woman fights to overcome a desperate situation. Gerald’s Game has a particularly terrifying concept that only Stephen King could come up with.

Jessie is the wife of wealthy older man Gerald Burlingame. To rekindle their failing marriage, Gerald takes Jessie to an isolated lake house where he plans a kinky “game” that results in her being handcuffed to a bed. When he goes too far, Gerald suffers a fatal heart attack that leaves her with no way of escape. It was unfilmable since the entire movie now hinges on one performance. Fortunately Carla Gugino delivers what I think is the best performance of her career. Like all horrifying survival stories, the situation goes from bad to worse.

Since the door was left open, a hungry stray dog wanders in and ends up doing something disgusting. When dehydration sinks in, she has to find a way to get the water left on the shelf behind her. Bruce Greenwood is just as effective as Gerald when Jessie begins to hallucinate him taunting her. Triggering a disturbing memory with her father during a solar eclipse that she has to come to terms with. Even that isn’t the worst of it when another dark figure shows up. Much like 127 Hours, the circumstances of Jessie’s escape are extremely difficult to watch. Gerald’s Game is gut-wrenching horror that hits close to home.

Gerald's Game

Jessie cuffed to a bed

Bomb Disposal

The Hurt Locker is the first Best Picture winner directed by a woman. The 2009 Academy Awards ceremony was dubbed the “Battle of the exes” between James Cameron and his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow. Although I was rooting for Avatar since I’d already seen it in theaters, I appreciated the milestone of Kathryn Bigelow winning Best Director. Bigelow won because she’s a great filmmaker who makes movies that speak to anyone regardless of gender. The Hurt Locker is the most masterfully crafted film about the Iraq War. The third major American war to win Best Picture.

Best Original Screenplay winner Mark Boal drew from his own experience as a journalist alongside a bomb disposal unit. The Hurt Locker doesn’t give a political slant to the controversial war, it just tells a gripping story with as much realism as possible. I was on edge every time a complex bomb was being defused or set off in the Middle Eastern terran. Bigelow got dangerously close to actual battlefields and makes you as anxious as the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit. It’s a dangerous job that can take a toll on a person since they’re not always able to save everyone.

Conflicting ideologies are seen when the EOD receives a new team leader. Jeremy Renner is the thrill seeking wild man First Class Sergeant William James and Anthony Mackie is the by the book war-weary Sergeant J. T. Sanborn. Specialist Owen Eldridge is caught in the middle of their feud that eventually finds common ground. The sad truth is that some men want to leave and others find civilian life to be the true struggle. The Hurt Locker is also unique for containing many future MCU actors. The first bomb disposal leader is Aldrich Killian, Hawkeye works with Falcon, and Hawkeye’s ex-wife ends up being the Wasp. The Hurt Locker left an impact on both the Iraq War and the entire film industry.

The Hurt Locker

A bomb detonates

The In-Between

The Lovely Bones is the odd movie out from Peter Jackson’s post-Lord of the Rings work. It’s not a 3 hour epic, but special effects are a highlight. I was intrigued to see The Lovely Bones mostly for Jackson’s directing. Even though I knew the subject matter would leave me depressed. The ending was depressing, but everything else made me angry. Since a young person taken from this world too soon is a terrible tragedy that no one should ever endure. The 14 year old Susie Salmon is much too innocent for this evil world. All she wants is to become a photographer and kiss the boy of her dreams.

Her heartbreaking death in 1973 is at the hands of the despicable Harvey when he lures Susie into a den under a corn field. The 2002 novel sounds so much more horrific, but it’s the supernatural element that was probably hardest to translate. Susie doesn’t become a ghost. Instead she ends up in the In-Between. A brightly colorful and even psychedelic personal Heaven with an upbeat tone. The cast is full of major celebrities like Mark Wahlberg as the father, Rachel Weisz as the mother, and Susan Sarandon as the grandmother. A young Saoirse Ronan delivers a breakout performance as Susie and Stanley Tucci was so convincingly evil as Harvey that he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

My praise kind of stops there, because the disjointed tonal shifts didn’t work for me. The comedic grandmother feels especially out of place. I’d say it would’ve worked better without the In-Between, but that would’ve made it more depressing. The grief the Salmon family feels trying to search for Susie’s killer is particularly realistic on its own. The only direct supernatural aspect is an outsider from Susie’s school sensing her presence. The closure and brutal justice I was hoping Harvey would receive, ended up feeling disappointing. The Lovely Bones saves itself with a positive message wishing us all to have a long and happy life.

The Lovely Bones

Susie Salmon