Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here (Kieran Darcy-Smith, 2012) Aquarius Films, wr. Kieran Darcy-Smith, Felicity Price; Joel Edgerton, Felicity Price, Teresa Palmer, Anthony Starr; released 26 April 2012; drama, mystery; Joel Edgerton nom for Best Lead Actor AACTAs 2013, Felicity Price nom for Best Lead Actor AACTAs 2013, pic nom for Best Film AACTAs 2013, and so Kieran Darcy-Smith also nommed for Best Direction; 89 min.

For me, this could have been told a lot more simply and still have been just as effective. The moves between present and past are very frequent. I found myself spending so much mental energy on keeping up with narrative time that I was less clear than I wished to be about the relationships between the main characters—and there are only four of them. Joel Edgerton should be a shoo-in for Best Actor in January 2013: his performance is superb. Update: the award was won by Chris O'Dowd for The Sapphires. This is ridiculous, as he barely acts at all. There is something profoundly wrong with these awards.

The Sydney-based collective known as Blue-Tongue Films comprises filmmakers Joel and Nash Edgerton, Kieran Darcy-Smith, Luke Doolan, David Michôd and Spencer Susser. Their most outstanding success to date has been Michod’s Animal Kingdom. And now, after several short films, Kieran Darcy-Smith, working with his wife Felicity Price as co-screenwriter has made Wish You Were Here. Margaret Pomeranz, At the Movies.

I think this is a terrific film. I think it really succeeds in capturing this feeling of sort of the first world clashing with the third world in this kind of holiday situation where Australians can behave not very well. I think ... all the performances are splendid. It's really well done in every way and I love little scenes back in Sydney, where the suspense is carrying you through that that there's something - you're not sure what - but something horrible is going on that's followed them really from Cambodia back to Sydney. So I think this is a top rate Australia film and I'm giving it four and a half. David Stratton, At the Movies.

It's a gripping story and it's told with flair, not least by editor Jason Ballantine, who has the task of handling the non-linear storytelling - and making it work.
There has to be a genuine reason for chopping back and forth in time, and in this film that's obvious: maintain the mystery, increase the tension. It is also useful as an emotional propellant. Andrew L. Urban, Urban Cinefile.


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