Jasper Jones - 3.5 Stars
Aaron L. McGrath and Angourie Rice shine in this adaptation of the hit Australian novel.
In the dead of night during the scorching summer of 1969, Charlie is startled when he is woken by local mixed-race outcast Jasper Jones outside his window. Jasper leads him deep into the forest and shows him something that will change his life forever, setting them both on a dangerous journey to solve a mystery that will consume the entire community.
The film isn’t perfect, it definitely has its problems, but it certainly is one of the better Australian films that have been released in the last few years. The script opens very quickly and throws you into the midst of the plot. A few more minutes of establishing characters/location etc would’ve slowed down the opening and made for a more seamless introduction. However, after the script finds a good pace it balances murder, “being a teenager” and family struggles very well.
The young cast is predominantly good, Aaron L. McGrath is compelling as Jasper Jones and Angourie Rice is a true rising star. Her performance as Eliza is one of the best in the film. Levi Miller struggles to keep up and his performance is the least convincing. Toni Collette and Hugo Rice both offer great performances, as does Dan Wylie and Susan Prior.
Overall it isn’t the greatest film on the market at the moment, but it is very good and most certainly one of the best Australian films of the past few years. Give it a shot, it may just surprise you.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Picture This!