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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

This is beautifully photographed by Andrew Commis and edited by Veronika Jenet. It's quite a bit more fun than The Wild Duck (lol NOT), tho it's surprising how little Geoffrey Rush (!) and Sam Neill (!) get to do with this script. As usual, I can't tell if the fault is in the writing or the direction, tho the latter is more likely.

I'm trying not to say, in the light of my note on Frog Dreaming, that it sucks that there's an American actor in it - and he's not even very good - but it does make a (negative) difference.

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. Louise 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.

See also: Wild Duck, The (Henri Safran, 1984)

Garry Gillard | New: 28 October, 2016 | Now: 2 April, 2020