Pemberton setting for new Aussie classic

Emily AceSouth Western Times
Jasper Jones is the story of Charlie Bucktin and how his life is changed forever when he is entangled in a dangerous and mysterious journey.
Camera IconJasper Jones is the story of Charlie Bucktin and how his life is changed forever when he is entangled in a dangerous and mysterious journey. Credit: supplied

Movie Review: Jasper Jones (M) - 8.5/10

Filmed in Pemberton, the film adaptation of the best-selling book Jasper Jones packs all the punch of a Hollywood blockbuster while remaining quintessentially Australian.

Set in the rural small town of Corrigan in 1969, the film follows the quiet, book-loving 14-year-old Charlie Bucktin (Levi Miller) as he becomes entangled in the disappearance of teenager Laura Wishart when the mixed-race outcast, Jasper Jones (Aaron L. McGrath) knocks at his window in the dead of night.

Jasper pleads for help when he leads Charlie to the body of the missing girl, as he is sure to be blamed for the atrocity due to the colour of his skin and his romantic link to Laura.

Charlie hesitantly follows Jasper into the darkness as he is lead to the dead body of the missing girl.

Charlies instincts are to flee, but Jasper pleads for help in finding who committed the horrific crime, as he is sure to be blamed for the atrocity due to the colour of his skin and his romantic link to Laura.

Charlie’s sneaky attempts to uncover the truth is made more complicated when he finds himself the object of Eliza Wishart’s (Angourie Rice) affection, as he struggles to keep the knowledge of what happened to her sister under wraps.

Jasper and Charlie are convinced Laura’s untimely murder was at the hands of Mad Jack Lionel (Hugo Weaving), but as the pair get closer to the truth, the town’s darker secrets come to the surface.

Director Rachel Perkins is restrained in her retelling of the story – each scene is calculated, never revealing too much which would lead to a predictable ending.

Nothing is as it seems in this tale and the audience finds themselves asking until the very last scenes “whodunnit?”

However, the film does have a number of sub-plots which tend to take away from or slow down the momentum of the film.

The film has a number of sub-plots which touch on a range of other issues, including the treatment of Charlie’s Asian friend Jeffrey Lu’s (Kevin Long) family in the tense time of the Vietnam war, as well as the break-down of Charlie’s parents marriage

However, these concurrent storylines do tend to slow down the momentum of the film and confuse the main plot.

While the book had the luxury of time to explore these underlying issues, it is difficult to cram them into a 103-minute film, but the acting from the seasoned professionals and the young cast members is superb.

Collete and Weaving, as well as their younger coutnerparts, Rice, Miller and Lomg –Toni Collette is perfection from start to finish as Charlie’s overprotective mother, while Hugo Weaving is superb as Mad Jack in a short but intense confrontational scene.

Young Angourie Rice certainly proves her acting chops, as does Levi Miller and Kevin Long.

Jasper Jones is certainly not one to miss.

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