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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.
The film's story is pitted with plotholes of implausibility that continually take you out of the picture, robbing the film almost entirely of tension... the film's myriad flaws can be characterised as basic violations of common sense and consistency.
It's compelling as a whodunnit, touching as a coming-of-age story, insightful as a picture of race relations and crafty as a drama about secrets, concealing a few of its own for a final, satisfying reveal.
Well scripted, shot, and acted, there's very little not to recommend it: it streamlines a story without sacrificing complexity, and it is both entertaining and thoughtful while it's at it. It's enough to give you faith in the industry.
Centered on a 14-year-old boy caught up in a murder mystery involving a part-Aboriginal suspect, this outstanding adaptation of Craig Silvey's novel will appeal strongly to teenage and adult audiences.