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
The film is writer-director Jennifer Kent's highly anticipated follow up to 'The Babadook' (2014) which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. "I was fortunate to be offered a lot of projects after Sundance, some of them very good films," said Kent. But 'The Nightingale' was the story I really wanted to tell." See more »
" Tasmanian Aboriginal culture is a living culture. The Aboriginal language used in this film is called 'Palawa kani'. It was created by current day Tasmanian Aboriginal people using records of their original languages. Aboriginal actors cast in this film are from mainland Australia. They and we pay our respects to the aboriginal people of Lutruwita (Tasmania) past and present." See more »
Two hours is a hell of a long time to sit through what is essentially, quite possibly one of the most disturbing movies of all time.
What sets this film apart from the disturbing movies labeled under "horror", is that the excessive violence (sexual, racial, gender-based, vengeful and genocidal) pretty much all throughout this film is based on real life - The Black War in 1820s Van Dieman's Land, now known as Tasmania.
Clare and Billy, the two protagonists are hated minorities in this land (An Irish female convict and a black man) who seek vengeance for the terrible crimes committed against their families and themselves. The film begs the question - how does empathy survive in such a brutal world? How do you move on after you've lost so much? And finally, does vengeance bring satisfaction?
The answers are No to the last two and Yes to the first one.
I don't know if I can recommend this. It felt like the director was subjecting her audience to a horrific punishment with this. It essentially left me traumatised. Even in the moments when a character says a funny line, it's always followed with a horrific act of violence straight afterwards.
Other than that, the acting, especially Aisling Franciosi and Baykali Ganambar, are extraordinary. I believed every second of their performances. The way it's shot, the landscape and the cinematography, is gorgeous.
Watching this was a hell of a challenge. But I'm glad I got through it.
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