Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.
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THE NIGHTINGALE is a meditation on the horrors of Australian colonization, set at the turn of the 19th century. The film follows Clare, a 21-year-old native Irish wife and mother held captive beyond her 7-year sentence, desperate to be free of her obsessed master, British lieutenant Hawkins. Clare's husband Aidan intervenes with devastating consequences for all. When British authorities fail to deliver justice, Clare pursues Hawkins, who leaves his post suddenly to secure a captaincy up north. Unfamiliar with the Tasmanian wilderness she enlists the help of an orphaned Aboriginal tracker Billy. Marked by their traumas, the two fight to overcome their distrust and prejudices against the backdrop of Australia's infamous 'Black War'.Written by
Actress Aisling Franciosi, who played Clare, worked with a psychologist, Dr. Elaine Barrett, who took Franciosi to a Domestic Violence center to speak with the staff who work with women who have been abused, either over a period of time, or in isolated incidents. "That gave me a real insight into how these women keep going, what they feel and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that they experience," Franciosi said. "One of the things I learned at the center was that, globally, rape is a statistic that isn't going down. I was appalled and angered. Why is this still happening? Clare shows how resilient so many women are and how resilient women can be, and that was something that I felt was really important to bring to the screen truthfully and honestly." See more »
I'm still here you white bastards! I'm not going anywhere! I'm home!
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An Important, Brave, Honest, and Difficult Film...
The new film by Jennifer Kent is an unfiltered look at 1825 Tasmania through the eyes of an Irish convict named Claire. A horrific act of violence happens against Claire and her family which prompts her on a journey to find the perpetrator. Along the way she slowly befriends an aboriginal tracker that helps her on her journey.
This is not an easy film to watch. It contains horrific acts of violence that are terrible to watch that are consistent throughout the entire film. However, these horrific acts are necessary to show because they depict the truth in what happened in 1825 Tasmania. Jennifer Kent is very careful as to not glorify violence in any way and depicts more of the emotional impact rather than the violence itself. Many filmmakers would shy away from from depicting these events and just leaving hints as to what is happening but writer/director Jennifer Kent is brutally honest and true to the subject matter.
The lead role played by Aisling Franciosi, who plays Claire, is a truly Academy award winning performance and makes you feel like you are witnessing a real person. Along side Aisling Franciosi, is Baykali Ganambarr in his feature debut who is nonetheless astounding who plays the aboriginal tracker. The antagonist, Hawkins, who is played by Sam Claflin, is a brave and daring performance. Claflin often has to do things that many actors would never do. If nothing else, watch this movie for it's terrific performances around the board with not one weak link.
This film is beautifully shot in the backwoods of Tasmania with fantastic night scenes and an overall dreary and washed out tones. This perfectly matches the depressing nature of the script and also does so with the beautiful and haunting score. The production design is also commendable leaving you immersed in the environment. Stylistically, the film does exactly what it needs. It's not leaving you in awe of the visuals but is is using the visuals to accentuate the emotions of the characters.
At 2 hours and 16 minutes, this is very hard to sit through because it is consistently brutal and emotionally draining throughout the runtime. I would not recommend this film to those who are very sensitive but if you can stomach this one, give it a watch. Jennifer Kent has proven herself to be a talent to see. It is important to shine a light on our past so we do not forget the atrocities that humanity has committed so we cannot repeat them. This film does not let you forget the horrific events that took place in Australia and Tasmania but it shows them to you in a way that does not let you forget. This is an important film to see and if you get the chance, go see this one in theaters.
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