Newest Reviews
Storm Boy
Storm Boy
Frozen II
White Sheik, The
Whalebone Box, The
Hunt, The
Invisible Man, The
Honey Boy
System Crasher
Judy & Punch
Battling Butler
Seven Chances
Dogs Don't Wear Pants
Navigator, The
Knives Out
Charlie's Angels
Passport to Shame
Le Mans '66
Keep Fit
Doctor Sleep
Friend or Foe
Brass Target
Mine and the Minotaur, The
Sky Pirates
Sea Children, The
Ghost of a Chance, A
Go Kart Go
Great Buster, The
Seventy Deadly Pills
Wings of Mystery
Treasure at the Mill
Crime Wave
Terminator: Dark Fate
Antonio Gaudi
Newest Articles
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
Ozploitation Icon: Interview with Roger Ward
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
  Jasper Jones Small town, small minds
Year: 2017
Director: Rachel Perkins
Stars: Levi Miller, Angourie Rice, Hugo Weaving, Toni Colette, Matt Nable, Myles Pollard, Dan Wyllie, Aaron L. McGrath, Susan Prior, Sam Longley, Wilson Moore, Gabrielle Chan, Ferdinand Hoang, Cooper van Grootel, Kevin Long
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: One night Charlie Bucktin (Levi Miller), a fourteen year old boy living in a small rural town in Western Australia in 1969, is awoken by Jasper Jones (Aaron L. McGrath), the town's mixed-race outcast. He begs Charlie for help. Jasper leads Charlie to a private glade in the bush where to his horror they find the body of local girl Laura Wishart hanging from a tree. Scrawled on that same tree are the words: "I'm sorry." Jasper, who was in love with Laura, insists he had nothing to do her death. He convinces Charlie to help lay Laura to rest at the bottom of the lake. The next morning, while police and townsfolk scour the countryside in search of Laura and concerned parents Ruth (Toni Colette) and Pete Bucktin (Myles Pollard) try to keep their son indoors, Charlie grapples with his guilty secret. Compounding Charlie's anxiety are his encounters with Laura's younger sister Eliza (Angourie Rice) who seems to harbour romantic feelings for him. Eventually with Jasper's safety and Eliza's feelings weighing heavily, Charlie takes it upon himself to solve the mystery of Laura's death.

Likened to an Australian To Kill a Mockingbird this admirably ambitious coming of age drama is adapted from Craig Silvey's award-winning novel of the same name. As in the Harper Lee classic, Jasper Jones uses a small town crime where a local misfit is unjustly pegged the guilty culprit as a means of exploring a nation's lamentable legacy of bigotry and hatred. All viewed through the eyes of a young innocent. The subject matter certainly befits the track record of director Rachel Perkins whose past works, including drama Radiance (1998) and musicals One Night the Moon (2001) and Bran Nue Dae (2010), all dealt with various aspects of Aboriginal culture. Yet despite an intriguing personality and back-story Jasper himself is strangely marginalized throughout this particular story. The mystery is certainly compelling and the cast uniformly excellent, from seasoned Aussie scene-stealers Toni Colette and Hugo Weaving (near-unrecognizable as the town's resident creepy old man) to gifted rising stars Levi Miller and Angourie Rice, both building on the promise of past roles. However, in adapting Silvey's multi-layered narrative for the screen Perkins and screenwriter Shaun Grant struggle to maintain a singular focus.

Along with touching on racism directed at the Aboriginal community, Jasper Jones tackles the cultural and moral conservatism of late Sixties rural Australia, anti-Asian bigotry spurred by the Vietnam war, sexual abuse, social constraints placed on women, the disintegration of a family, hypocrisy among the powers that be and young love. On top of that there is a subplot concerning Charlie's wisecracking pal Jeffrey (Kevin Long) touching on how sport can have a positive effect on efforts to overcome prejudice. All of which probably work magnificently in the novel but in the film adaptation pass by too quickly. Despite complex themes and emotive performances throughout Jasper Jones has a hard time maintaining a near-impossible juggling act. Perkins' scatter-gun approach covers a lot of bases without giving them the weight they deserve. Ultimately the film's core theme springs from a charming ongoing debate about comic book superheroes arguing that true courage involves overcoming fear to do the right thing. Which although heartening, given the sheer range of subject matter crammed into one narrative, is also a somewhat facile reduction of its scope.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 604 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton


Last Updated: