The Nightingale (2019) – Dir Jennifer Kent

Jennifer Kent follows up The Babadook with this tale of an Irish convict’s quest for revenge against an English officer in 1825,Tasmania.

Staring Aisling Franciosi (Game of Thrones) , Sam Clafin (Me Before You) and Baykali Ganambarr.

Let’s get one thing straight, while not always being graphic, this is a hard watch from the off. Telling the tail of British occupancy, and the crimes against convicts and the indigenous people, should be shown warts and all. Aisling Franciosi is fierce as the young mother who loses everything at the hands of the vicious Captain played by Sam Clafin. She vows to seek him out by enlisting a local man (Ganambarr) to help her track the Captains company across the wilderness.

It’s not what you could call an enjoyable watch given the subject. However, it is honest, striking and very well made. The relationship between Franciosi and Ganambarr is central to its success and both actors are superb. Sam Clafin does his best to portray the face of pure evil. While he certainly is a nasty presence, I just couldn’t quite believe that the person he portrays would act in such an extreme way. However, maybe that is the aim of the movie, to show the occupations disregard for the inhabitants of this foreign land.

Also on the negatives, there are many dream sequences which are possibly a bit too frequent and sometimes tonally at odds with the movie.

Rating – 7.5 – A hard but rewarding watch. A striking follow up to the superb Babadook.

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