Has a film ever shook you to your core, I mean really shook you to the point where even months later, it still resonates with you when thinking of it? Only a few films have done that for me, and the latest from the director who brought us ‘The Babadook’, Jennifer Kent does exactly that. She steps away from horror genre here with ‘THE NIGHTINGALE’ to give us almost a different type of terror. The real life kind, and with that she has created a film that will haunt you in a very different way. The only thing holding it back is the historical subject matter and the no-holds-barred approach that will surely limit its audience. From an emotional aspect, the film is extraordinarily uncomfortable and disturbing to watch; however, from a film making perspective, it’s a thing of beauty, with both sides of my brain being at war with it the entire time.
The film takes place in Tasmania in 1825, where an Irish convict Clare (Aisling Franciosi), is raped while her husband Aidan (Michael Sheasby) and infant child are murdered by corrupt and sadistic British officers Hawkins (Sam Clafin), Ruse (Damon Herriman) & Jago (Harry Greenwood), who pillage and plunder whomever and whatever they like. Claire goes on a journey of vengeance to bring bloodshed to those responsible. She enlists the help of an Aboriginal man Billy (Baykali Ganambarr), who knows how to track in the wilderness. Together, the pair go through a tale of survival in the hopes of revenge and bringing justice to the men who have left a day prior.
The film is definitely going to split viewers due to its violent nature. There are a few scenes of detailed rape in it and murder that will be uncomfortable for some viewers as they are an extremely difficult to sit thru. Otherwise the film is quite an engorging watch. Franciosi is a terrific lead, as well as Ganambarr is downright amazing in his performance. Right after her rape, you see the strength in her character develop and the lengths she would go to bring justice. Her development is rapid but unwavering.
The film comes from a different time and place that we really know nothing about and its interesting to see a film depicting these events. It’s a gripping tale focused on the reaction to the deepest of personal loss. The reward is there for those brave enough to give it a watch.
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Media Review Screening ~ Courtesy of 42 West PR.
“THE NIGHTINGALE” IS OUT IN LIMITED RELEASE IN THE U.S. // INTERNATIONAL RELEASE FOLLOWING
2 thoughts on “REVIEW: “THE NIGHTINGALE” (2019) IFC FILMS”
The Babadook was well done and a creepy horror film. Look forward to Kent’s follow-up which based on your review sounds divisive. You’ve sold me with the ” real life” aspect which is scarier than imaginary monsters.
It’s very ‘real’ again, this is a hard watch, I think especially as a woman watching another woman go thru what she does.. it’s brutal, yet it’s very good. odd I know, but you won’t forget it anytime soon. It’s been months now since I’ve seen it, and I still think of it.