Jasper Jones
Drama, Thriller, Mystery
IMDB rating:
Rachel Perkins
Hugo Weaving as Mad Jack Lionel
Sam Longley as Detective Galbraith
Kevin Long as Jeffrey Lu
Wilson Moore as Warwick Trent
Levi Miller as Charlie Bucktin
Myles Pollard as Pete Wishart
Angourie Rice as Eliza Wishart
Gabrielle Chan as Kim Lu
Susan Prior as Gwyn Wishart
Daniel Wyllie as Wes Bucktin
Matthew Nable as Sarge
Toni Collette as Ruth Bucktin
Storyline: JASPER JONES is a coming of age story about Charlie Bucktin, a bookish boy of 14. On the night that Jasper Jones, the town's mixed race outcast shows him the dead body of young Laura Wishart, Charlie's life is changed forever. Entrusted with this secret and believing Jasper to be innocent, Charlie embarks on a dangerous journey to find the true killer. Set over the scorching summer holidays of 1969, Charlie defeats the local racists, faces the breakup of his parents and falls head over heels in love as he discovers what it means to be truly courageous.
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Resolution 720x306 px
File Size 1338 Mb
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Bitrate 1832 Kbps
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Moving and relevant
When a bookish teenager helps solve a mystery death to avoid his aboriginal friend being blamed, he digs deep to find the courage to sort out the mess of his family and friends' lives.

Set in a rural 1960s town, a young Levi Miller takes a worthy turn at a Mark Twain style hero who, sustained by a childhood wonder about important things like Batman's superpowers, is caught up in a tragedy which uncovers far more about the dark nature of people than any child should know. Toni Collete as a depressed mother and Hugo Weaving as a the town's recluse give the story emotional depth, and director Rachel Perkin brings out the simmering malevolence in an everyday setting.

Based on a contemporary novel, the casual racism and intolerance is particularly relevant to our times. Worth seeing for- Levi Miller & Hugo Weaving. 8/10
Another Great Aussie Movie
Nothing better than watching a good Aussie movie, I can't get enough of them.... :) and this is another one. Love the story line, fantastic actors, location. I've watched the movie twice now and most likely watch it many more time. Well done to the writer/director/producer for creating this story/movie and the actors, they portrayed Australia in the 50s to a T.. I would definitely recommend watching this movie.
A truly Australian story
I read this book after seeing Belvoir's mesmeric stage production, which so perfectly captured the claustrophobia of a small town in Western Australia in the 1960s. No movie was ever going to manage that and, as much as I love Toni Collette and Hugo Weaving I would have loved to see the same cast in the movie as I saw onstage. That said I couldn't help but become entwined in the lives of these young people and their community. Themes of racism, domestic violence and marriage breakdown are handled openly but sensitively. This story reminds of another favourite, 'The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night Time'. If you like this book then I recommend 'Jasper Jones'.
A brave but artificial attempt
When Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton were reviewing Australian films on SBS they were always generous with their ratings, no matter how manifestly awful the film was. They felt it their duty to support home grown product and clearly preferred compliancy to controversy. The same can be said for some of the Aussie reviewers here who are just as clearly seeing the film through rose coloured glasses. Up front it must be said that Toni Collette and Hugo Weaving are typically flawless in their supporting roles, though I suspect the former had misgivings about one scene in which she feels the need to administer a rather dubious and extreme punishment to Charlie. Levi Miller is the find of the film, showing a maturity beyond his years with a sensitive and endearing multi-faceted performance as the set-upon Charlie, who is privy to Jasper's secret and uncertain what to do wit it. The rest of the acting, including the title performance, is at best uneven, as is the direction. I confess my aversion to "fart" gags in movies. When are fart gags going to be see as unfunny, as is one here, demonstrated by Charlie's dad and out of character with anything the role demands of Dan Wyllie on screen. Collette and Miller aside (Weaving has only one noteworthy scene), Jasper Jones lacks conviction and credibility. I caught up with it on Foxtel's "Masterpiece" movie channel. The best that can be said is that lesser films have been less worthy of the aggrandisement.
Uneven storytelling makes the whole feel less than the sum of its parts
Craig Silvey's bestselling novel Jasper Jones has been lauded for its deft exploration of racial tensions and small town prejudices through the lens of a coming of age tale and a who-dun-it mystery. While the big screen adaptation, which Silvey co-scripted, retains much of what made the novel a hit, its loosely structured narrative doesn't translate quite as effectively on the silver screen.

Set in the small mining town of Corrigan, Western Australia in 1969, Jasper Jones tells the story of bookish 13 year old, Charlie Bucktin (Levi Miller). One night an Aboriginal boy by the name of Jasper Jones taps on his bedroom window asking for help. Startled by his sudden appearance but persuaded by his desperate pleading, Charlie agrees to follow Jasper into the woods to the gruesome sight of a dead young girl hanging on a tree branch. Jasper makes it clear to Charlie that he didn't kill the girl and reveals that he was in a relationship with her. The only problem is that he doesn't want to go to the police for fear that their racist attitude will see him unjustly blamed for her death. Charlie, who believes Jasper and is eager to help him, agrees to hide the body in a pond nearby and to keep their discovery a secret.

Unfortunately what should have been a good set-up for a mystery film lacks one crucial element: there's no reason to suspect foul play in regards to the girl's death. When we first see Laura's body hanging from the tree, there's a more obvious conclusion to be made. Jasper instead begins to make up stories surrounding her death and centers on the idea that an old recluse, Mad Jack Lionel (played by the excellent but criminally underused Hugo Weaving), must have murdered her. Charlie believes Jasper, as there have been rumours that the old man has done bad things in the past, but there's not enough reason for the audience to suspect the old man's involvement in matters. The suspicion surrounding her death seems only to exist only in the eyes of the children and this robs the film of much of its tension, particularly towards the end of the film when the kids finally decide to confront Mad Jack.

However, the confrontation still ends up being the stand out moment in the film as it results in some startling revelations about Jasper Jones as a character. It's a well-crafted dramatic scene that is only undermined by its lack of cohesion with the rest of the film. For most of its running time, the film weaves together a collection of different subplots and side stories revolving around Charlie's life, including his parent's rocky marriage and his growing feelings towards local girl Eliza (Angourie Rice). Jasper only periodically intersects with the narrative and he remains a largely passive character, disappearing for large swathes of the film at a time. When the ending sharply puts the focus back on him, it feels forced and disjointed; not allowing the revelation to hit with the devastating impact the film is clearly striving for.

That's not to say that the film doesn't have its moments but overall Jasper Jones feels like an amalgamation of disparate parts that only come together under the broad hat of a coming of age story. There's a bit of everything: a touch of mystery, a pinch of comedy mixed in with a bit of family drama and racial tension. While parts of it work well, they never really come together cohesively, making the whole feel less than the sum of its parts.
It could have been great...
This should have been a riveting story but it was actually limp. The story is important. It could have perhaps been saved had the director gone for realism.

For instance, in 1969, no small town Aussie kid spoke as if they were straight out of a preppie school in Britain. I might have forgiven this massive oversight if perhaps the parents of the said children were all Oxford professors but no, Toni Collette knew how to be her Australian best as did every other adult in the film, but somehow the kids, including the young Indigenous man, flopped into this small pint pot of a place with plums in their gobs. This set me on edge immediately. Get it real or forget it.

Too uneven to be enjoyable. The opening scenes are wonderfully iconic of country Australia in the era but that's where the realism ends.

All important topics utterly wasted: The effects of racism, incest, teen suicide, parents betraying their children and behaving badly... this could seriously have been a brilliant piece but I'll forget it as soon as I've finished this review. Except for the irritation of small town kids in 1969 speaking like private school kids from 2017.
A good family movie (from a ever dwindling supply)
These days you have a hard time to select a movie to watch as a family. With the moral fiber of the world worn thin and the moral compass of the industry spinning out of control, it is good to find a gem ever so often. And where better to find it than Australia. I took note of the other reviews being a little from Aussie to Aussie, so I just had to break borders and rate from across the sea, albeit it still in the Southern Hemisphere. (I am sure that a Christmas tree in summer must seem a bit odd to the Northern viewers, but we are very comfortable with that, thankyouverymuch. The movie is very well acted and has the two talented youngsters Angourie Rice and Levi Miller supported by none other than Toni Collette (big fan) and Hugo Weaving. And I mean supported. They do not take center stage in this coming-of-age drama. The story is well told and the elements of racial tension and bias is well crafted and well resolved. 1969, and even if Australia is a world away, the world intrudes. We all enjoyed the movie tremendously, and even though it deals with adult topics, it makes it accessible for all ages. If you want an easy watching movie with the family, this is a good pick. You will be surprised.
A middle of the road Australian offering
Based on Australian author Craig Silvey's beloved novel of the same name, this semi-successful and well-received Australian offering looks to capture the magic that was found in Silvey's paper version of this tale of death, love, racial tension and growing up in a small Australian town of the late 1960's but Rachel Perkins film lacks a certain spark that would've made Jasper Jones one of the year's must see local productions.

Perkins film certainly looks and sounds the part, thanks to quality contributions from acclaimed composer Antony Partos, DOP Mark Wareham and production designer Herbert Pinter but the heart and soul of the story of young boy Charlie Bucktin and his sudden friendship with aboriginal outcast Jasper Jones after the two get caught up in the death and cover up of local girl Laura Wishart never truly gels on the big screen thanks to some so-so performances and plodding editing.

Following on from his mediocre turn in Pan and so-so turn in fellow Australian big screen event Red Dog: True Blue, Australian actor Levi Miller has the tough task of bringing Charlie to life and the young performer who appears in almost every scene of Perkins film doesn't quite make it work to the levels the tale needed him to hit.

Supported impressively by newcomer Kevin Long as best friend Jeffrey Lu, Aboriginal actor Aaron L. McGrath as the titular Jones and These Final Hours and The Nice Guys breakout star Angourie Rice (once more stealing the show acting wise), Miller has failed to make his mark in 3 big lead turns now and whenever you see him alongside Rice or Australian staples like Toni Collette and Hugo Weaving (it's not an Aussie film without him) you realise that Miller's performances leave a lot to be desired.

The other problem with Jones is that its central mystery centring around just what happened to cause Laura's mysterious death is intriguing in a sense but once we are made aware of the answers to the questions we and the characters have, it feels like a bit of a letdown to what has been 90 minutes of build-up that includes detours into racial tensions and coming of age dramas.

Final Say –

Jasper Jones is a quality Australian production with clearly more money at its disposal than average local produce but despite a solid groundwork at its core, Perkins film feels like a bit of a non-event, even though a collection of commendable acting turns and a story that's journey is more intriguing initially than its destination make Jasper Jones far from the worst Australian made effort.

2 ½ game winning innings out of 5
A flawed diamond of a movie should have been better:
I enjoyed Jasper Jones especially the lead performances by Levi Miller as Charlie Bucktin , Aaron L McGrath as Jasper Jones ,Jeffrey Lu as Charlie's best mate and Toni Collette and Hugo Weaving but in my opinion it missed being a much better movie .

I must read the book hopefully it will answer the questions the movie leaves up in the air such as why Jasper goes to Charlie for help when he's never spoken to him previously? I may be wrong but I suspect readers of the book may be disappointed not in the actors but in the Production of this movie.

I think it needed a better Director and production crew. A few obvious gaffs were Charlie suddenly wearing a pair of sandals after climbing out of his window barefoot? and the cut on his face suddenly disappearing overnight, these are trivial things I know but points to bad editing and attention to details and this story deserved more. In summary very entertaining and enjoyable but a little frustrating and plot puzzling.
See the movie, then read the book.
Unfortunately I had already read the book. I had preconceived ideas about Charles Bucktin. However, I was able to adapt and accept Levi Miller playing the part. I always the thought the book had some flat spots, so the movie is better in keeping the pace going. I prayed that director Rachel Perkins wasn't going to turn this into a musical or something whimsical, fortunately that did not happen. Looking forward to getting the DVD.
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