‘Jasper Jones was just too much for me’

2419 Jasper Jones 1LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – This is a letter of apology to Rachel Perkins, the director of Jasper Jones. Last night I had to leave the Alice Cinema after 30 minutes; not because Jasper Jones is bad but because it is so good.

 

I grew up in a small town just like Corrigan, at a time like that. The film brought it all back – the stultified, suspicious, aggressive atmospheres, the cars, the moods, the grown-ups doing forbidden things in the dark, the beer, the hangovers from the war. The crimes.

 

I had a friend like that Aboriginal boy (we called him Tarzan) and another (Charlie Goolagong).

 

He got hit with suspicion and blame just like that. I guess the bookish white boy, who climbs out the window and into trouble bigger than anything he could imagine, does remind me of myself – then in the 1950s/60s. And the sullen houses. And that’s why I had to leave. That film really puts the finger on our past.

 

Maybe it should carry one of those health warnings: “Australians over the age of 50 who grew up in small country towns may find this film disturbing.”

 

Craig San Roque
Alice Springs

 

 

 

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2 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Ted Egan
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    I saw the film and award it five stars. It is one of the rare occasions where the film is better than the book, but the fact that the book’s author also wrote the screenplay indicates a good opportunity for him to review his own work. In the book the constant reference to Atticus Finch invites comparison to To Kill a Mockingbird and although similar racial bells are rung, this film is so essentially Australian that it makes one shudder in its own right. I can understand Craig’s early exit. What delighted me was the grasp that Rachel Perkins had of the many intricate characters. The camera work was suoerb, especially the nighttime scenes in the forest. And the sound! I understand every word from every character. Most unusual for an old chap like me, who is often critical of Australian films. Bound to enjoy huge recognition.

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  2. Matt Devareux
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Great comment Craig! I always feel this same foreboding driving through tiny WA wheatbelt towns. Established with such optimism in the great Australian agrarian experiment, they now just seem sad and kind of desperate, especially for the townie kids. Solidly built banks and Institutes stand empty and the internet-savvy cockies drive straight through on their way to Perth to drop the kids at boarding school. It’s always a relief to quickly pass through and get back out into the wide empty spaces again.

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