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Nightingale, The (Jennifer Kent, 2018) wr. Jennifer Kent, prod. Kristina Ceyton, Bruna Papandrea, Steve Hutensky; Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Baykali Ganambarr, Damon Herriman, Harry Greenwood, Magnolia Maymuru; drama set Tasmania 1829; world premiere Venice 6Sep18; released 13Oct18; general release 29 August 2019
Thanks to Don Groves and IF for the following summaries of reactions to the film at the Venice Film Festival, 6 September 2018.
Typical of the raves, Sam Golding, Associated Press’ entertainment news reporter, hailed the thriller as “absolutely extraordinary. Harrowing and gut-wrenching – yet also touching, and with genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Sound design is brilliant too. If there’s a better film at Venice, I don’t know what it is.”
FirstShowing’s Alex Billington declared yesterday: “It’s morning and I still can’t stop thinking about how amazing Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale is. This is one of those remarkable films that will be on Criterion in two years, for sure. I hope a great distributor gets this film and supports it.”
Italian critic Lorenzo Ciorcalo said: “This black Irish feminist ballad will fly you to the highest notes ever reached beyond the dirtiest bloodiest outbacks we ‘the civilized’ come from. My Golden Lion.”
Variety’s Guy Lodge likened the film to a feminist companion to Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country, opining: “Kent’s elemental revenge tale attains a near-mythic grandeur over the course of its arduous, ravishing trek. Some stricter editing wouldn’t go amiss, particularly in a needlessly baggy, to-and-fro finale, but it’s a pretty magnificent mass of movie.”
IndieWire’s Michael Nordine said: “Acclaimed filmmakers often face the challenge of big expectations on their second features, but Kent joins the ranks of sophomore filmmakers whose new movies expand on their debuts in startlingly ambitious ways. She charts her own path in The Nightingale, a savage journey that might not have been worth the trip were its guide not so adept at navigating the darkness.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney found much to admire in a gripping historical tale with a viewpoint that is relevant to today, praising the acting, the vivid atmospherics and the evocative camerawork by Polish DOP Radek Ladczuk. But Rooney said the climactic payback is a long time coming and loaded with too many improbabilities.
Don Groves, IF.
Garry Gillard | New: 7 February, 2017 | Now: 3 January, 2020