I went into The Nightingale with the simple knowledge that it was a story of revenge set in Tasmania during the earlier days of colonialism, I thought oh this will be great fun to see!
After tonight’s screening at Adelaide Film Festival, I legitimately feel blown away by this film. Being a revenge film something has to happen to the main character to then send him or her on a path of revenge, and my god do we have an utterly bone shattering set up here. Not far into the film we get our point of no return which was so confronting and brutally violent that for one particularly stomach churning moment I simply just had to look away, probably along with half the audience from which there were quite a few walk outs ( even a run out ) during this sequence.
This film has a multitude of brutal rape scenes, not to mention the goings on that had me looking away , there is really no getting around that fact so be warned The Nightingale is not for the faint of heart.
Aisling Franciosi plays our lead character and gives one hell of a performance showing a huge amount of range here. Baykali Ganambarr does a fantastic job as Billy, an Aboriginal tracker who helps our lead to track down the villains.
Our villains are played by Sam Claflin & Damon Herriman , both show skill in being utterly deplorable English soldiers which is all they really need to do here.
Jennifer Kent shows real skill here , and the story threads often don’t go where you would think it is going , along with very tight direction and editing in high intensity scenes.
In the end The Nightingale does unfortunately have a rather limited appeal base due to the brutality of much of it, however I think that it is something to be seen as it can be unique in multiple ways, other than just being a revenge thriller, it melds racism seamlessly into its narrative , set at a terrible time in Australia’s history.
My main gripe was actually that at some points it felt a little too slowly paced, go see this if you think you can handle it because it is a great piece of new Aussie cinema , I just don’t think I could stomach to watch it again any time soon.