The Daughter

Daughter, The (Simon Stone, 2015) wr. Simon Stone based on Henrik Ibsen's play The Wild Duck, prod. Jan Chapman, Nicole O'Donohue, dp Andrew Commis; Geoffrey Rush, Ewen Leslie, Paul Schneider, Miranda Otto, Anna Torv, Sam Neill; premiere Sydney FF; ten noms AACTA 2016

Actor and theatre director Simon Stone has based his plot on Henrik Ibsen's 19th century play The Wild Duck, which he first adapted to acclaim in 2011 for the Belvoir theatre. It's an intense work and not surprisingly the film is dense and unrelenting, never letting us off the hook as it canvasses its potent themes of secrets, lies, blame and guilt. I was engrossed by the elements and the superb look of the film, yet I felt a little disappointed that it never yields the emotional power that it should. Louis Keller, urbancinefile.

The miracle is that after so many years riffing theatrically onĀ The Wild Duck, Stone has been able to produce a script that is not only deeply cinematic (it never thuds and echoes like filmed plays so often do, using the film medium to full effect), but also feels fresh and spontaneous. This is achieved in no small part through pitch perfect performances from a top-shelf cast including Geoffrey Rush, Miranda Otto, Ewen Leslie, Paul Schneider and newcomer Odessa Young. Rochelle Siemienowicz, SBS.

Technically, the film is at once traditional and subversive, with Andrew Commis’ lush widescreen photography massaged by an audacious and successful editing strategy that finds Stone and cutter Veronika Jenet subtly time-shifting visuals and dialogue within the same scene and using brief absences of sound to speak louder than words and actions. Eddie Cockrell, Variety.

Garry Gillard | New: 28 October, 2016 | Now: 28 October, 2016