Jasper Jones

I’m not one to rave about new Australian films because for the majority of the time the ones  I am exposed to that get released to my local theaters are for the most part catered for the lowest common denominator. Which movie will get kids into theaters? What’s a sad story that shows off the Australian Outback? Not only that but the Australian film industry seems to be obsessed with the myth of outback culture (see Baz Luhremanns Australia or Red Dog and it’s unneeded sequel Red Dog True Blue). Yes- this movie is a period piece movie set in a rural Western Australian Town during the Vietnam War. However this film transcends its rivals firstly for the fact that it doesn’t celebrate the Old Outback Small Rural Australian Town Culture; but instead subtly  and poignantly criticizes it through a story with many layers and touching characters. With themes of fear and the way it makes us behave, racism, scapegoating, understanding, sympathy, escape and guilt all woven together to make a thoughtful yet engaging film that asks the question why do people behave the way they do? Why does Charlie’s Mum act the way she does? Why do the town-folk blame Jasper Jones for the disappearance of Laura or deface and intimidate the Lu’s? Why does Charlie fear Mad Jack Lionel when the truth is that he’s just a recluse, humble old man? Where do these deeply set prejudices come from and can we transcend them?  The answers to these questions are answers that we as a society at times have accepted and grown from and in other cases largely ignore or forgotten. In conclusion, Jasper Jones is a film that resonated with me and is timely in it’s themes. What really is the difference from the discrimination that Jasper and the Lu’s face and that of Muslim Australians?

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