When ‘here’ is not where one wants to be
Wish You Were Here (MA15+) Co-writer/Director: Kieran Darcy-Smith Starring: Joel Edgerton, Felicity Price, Teresa Palmer, Antony Starr
SOME good things are emerging from the Sydney-based film collective Blue Tongue Films, not least David Michod’s award-winning Animal Kingdom, in which Joel Edgerton had a key role.
Actor/director Kieran Darcy-Smith, with a couple of short films to his credit, embarked on Wish You Were Here within the collective, with his wife Felicity Price as co-screenwriter.
Talk about writing a juicy role for yourself. She stars as Alice, wife of Dave (Edgerton) and mother of two enchanting children.
She’s pregnant again, but can’t resist joining her sister Steph (Palmer) and Steph’s new boyfriend Jeremy (Starr) on a trip to Cambodia, where Jeremy has undisclosed business.
They swim, they immerse themselves in the local colour, and they party. Hard. Particularly on the night before they’re due to leave. Illegal drug-taking fuels the hedonism of Dave and Steph while Alice has sensibly opted for an early night.
At dawn the next morning we see Dave staggering bewildered and bedraggled across a wasteland.
The next moment Alice and Dave are back in Sydney, but something is not right. Jeremy is missing and Steph has stayed on in Cambodia to find him.
Dave’s discomfort starts to nag at the edges of their happy marriage. It’s obvious that he knows more about
Jeremy’s disappearance than he’s prepared to let on, possibly because of the drug-taking. He’s very careful with the federal police who are investigating.
Subsequent revelations put a further crack in Alice and Dave’s relationship, particularly after Steph returns home.
This is a very handsome-looking film, well shot and edited, and there is a simply splendid performance from Felicity Price, who was obviously very familiar with the woman she plays.
Particularly impressive are the scenes with the children, played with astounding confidence by young Otto Page and Isabelle Austin-Boyd.
One can query the structure of the thriller elements of the film, and I have qualms about the realism of one of the revelations in the film.
But this is a very strong debut feature from Kieran Darcy-Smith – it’s remarkably assured in many ways.
Margaret's verdict: four stars
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