Film review: Wish You Were Here

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Jen Perry is presently completing her Honours year in German at the University of Western Australia, and was on the student-editing committee for Trove; a multi media creative arts journal from 2010 to 2011

The opinions expressed in Trove are those of individual contributors and not those of the editoral committee or the steering committee (as editorial advisers) or UWA.

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Review by Jen Perry

Edited by Rachael Hains-Wesson

Film: Wish You Were Here
Director: Kieran Darcy-Smith
Running time: 89 minutes
Year of release: 2012
Language: English

Wish You Were Here

The film, Wish You Were Here balances the tense and riveting moments of a mystery against the turmoils and joys of a relationship drama. Produced by Blue Tongue Films, a collective between Kieran Darcy-Smith and Joel Edgerton among others, Wish You Were Here joins the likes of Blue Tongue's Animal Kingdom

Darcy-Smith and Felicity Price have joined together to write a film about four people who go on holiday in Cambodia and emerge forever changed. Without divulging too much, the film is fraught with tension and angst after Jeremy King, a newcomer to the group, is reported missing after a long night of partying. Overall, the film depicts the various characters attempt to deal with this particular situation with other complications arising throughout.

In addition to writing, Darcy-Smith also directs the film with a skill beyond his limited filmography history. The scenes that are filmed in Cambodia are rough and disjointedly shot, mimicking the lawlessness and hectic fervour of bustling streets and jam-packed markets. In stark contrast, later scenes are filmed with a steady and focused hand.

This is especially evident during a poignant moment, when the filming is completed from a distance, unobtrusively paralleling the growing emotional divide that occurs between leads Edgerton and Price.

Price and Edgerton play the characters Alice and Dave Flannery, a well-off Sydney couple with two children and another on the way. Their relationship provides the film’s narrative arc via a combination of flashbacks and present-day revelations from Dave’s perspective. Edgerton gives an impressive performance that is both restrained yet effusive.

Price is also especially enjoyable to watch as she breathes life into the character she co-wrote with Darcy-Smith. The film’s real accomplishment is the actors’ abilities to genuinely depict nuanced emotions in an otherwise outlandish situation. With several sensational plot points threatening to dissolve the realm of believability, Price and Edgerton draw you back into the story, and quite literally, had me on the edge of my seat. Antony Starr and Teresa Palmer also executed solid performances as King and Steph McKinney, Alice’s sister.