Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Heavenly Creatures. C

Heavenly Creatures, based on a true story, is a pretty absurd movie, mostly because its two main characters are pretty absurd people. The film doesn't work because we have these two teenage girls obsessed with each other and their outrageous fantasies with their relationship culminating in a crushingly tragic, and, dare I say it, childish murder. We watch these very unusual kids from a distance because of their oddities, unsure if director Peter Jackson is actually trying shed any positive light on their friendship. What exactly are we supposed to think about these people? The sick and pointless crime they commit at the end ultimately suggests there should be no viewer-character connection, for it would take someone as disturbed as these girls to actually relate to them. Thus we have a movie that ends with the acknowledgment that yes, this film is every bit as unpleasant as you thought it was while watching the story slowly play out. Jackson is of course a great visual stylist, yet the energy he creates through images feels deflated by the disturbing and abstruse teens who occupy his canvas. Any type of grandeur is deadened by pathetic characters who are anything but heavenly creatures. And yet this is no fault of Jackson's since he's dealing with the true Parker-Hume murder story from the 1950s that may be one of the most disturbing and graphic single killings of the 20th century. That's a problem sometimes with films based on fact. They make for fascinating stories, but so often aren't compatible with this medium. I don't think I will see this film again anytime soon, but it would be nice to go back in time and see it again knowing more about the murder case. My perspective might have changed, and maybe I would end up seeing what Jackson himself saw in the project. 

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