THE NIGHTINGALE is a gruelling and relentlessly bleak watch, but it’s compelling stuff nonetheless. Jennifer Kent followed up her fascinatingly unique genre debut THE BABADOOK with a dark, raw and grounded historical epic. There’s a captivating core relationship dynamic: an uneasy but necessary relationship between a horrendously wronged Irish convict (Aisling Franciosi, mesmerising) and her Aboriginal guide (Baykali Ganambarr, dignified) both with intense distrust of each other that it overridden by their shared loathing of the English soldiers they are in pursuit of. Kent brings across the sheer scale of the journey through a wide range of inhospitable but beautiful landscapes and gives Colonialism a damn good kicking along the way. One late scene doesn’t quite ring true, but it gives us a moment to take a breath before heading for the finish line. The Nightingale’s lived-in performances and the harsh reality of living in a difficult time grabs you from the off and refuses to let go. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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