The Nightingale (2018) Poster

(I) (2018)

User Reviews

Review this title
134 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
8/10
Vengeance is thy name
ferguson-62 August 2019
Greetings again from the darkness. With only her second feature film, Jennifer Kent (THE BABADOOK) has created a near cinematic masterpiece. The only thing holding it back is the historical subject matter and the no-holds-barred approach that will surely limit its audience. From an emotional aspect, the film is extraordinarily uncomfortable and disturbing to watch; however, from a filmmaking perspective, it's a thing of beauty. The two sides of my brain were at war the entire time.

Set in 1825 Tasmania, the opening scenes are ominous and cloaked in dread - even though nothing has happened (yet). We just feel it in our bones ... things are about to go wrong. And oh my, do they ever go wrong. Now you are likely similar to me in that your knowledge of 1825 Tasmanian history is quite limited. This was the era of "The Black War". The British were in the midst of colonizing the country. Violence was prevalent towards women, native Aboriginals, and even the land and existing culture.

Clare (Aisling Franciosi, "The Fall") is a young Irish woman, recently married with a newborn. She has served her 7 year sentence for theft (likely food for survival) and is now an improperly indentured servant to the ambitious and quietly despicable Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin, THE HUNGER GAMES). Clare is headstrong, but wise enough to understand her place. Her husband Aidan (Michael Sheasby, HACKSAW RIDGE) lacks the same judgement and his foolish attempts to deal directly with Hawkins results in the atrocity that leads to the core of the story.

When her pleas for justice fall on the deaf ears of the British military, Clare's need for vengeance transforms her into a woman-obsessed. Due to the harsh elements of the Tasmanian forest, Clare reluctantly agrees to hire an equally reluctant Aboriginal tracker/guide. Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) takes the job, and the two have little respect for each other as the trek begins. As a female Irish convict, Clare was treated poorly by the British, yet she somehow views herself as superior to Billy. On the other hand, Billy lumps all white people into the category of those to hate and distrust. This pair make quite a statement on racism, classism and pre-judging others. Of course, as their journey continues, their similar backgrounds and commonalities are revealed, bringing these two broken people closer together and building mutual respect.

This is a part of history that Australia understandably doesn't work to keep in the forefront. But the atrocities were very real and Ms. Kent's film never shies away from the gut-punch of a moment. And though it takes place during this dark period with numerous appalling characters, the core element to the Clare's story is determining the consequences and price of seeking vengeance. How does one hold on to compassion and humanity while trapped in an environment that is barely survivable? Does violence truly beget violence? Is there another way? One of the most striking elements of the story is the contrast of mindless slaughter against the intimacy of vengeance. The British soldiers seem to pay little mind to their victims, while Clare is an emotional wreck when violence is required. It's quite a thought-provoking debate.

This is the first leading role for Aisling Franciosi and she is a marvel. Clare is quite a complex character and Ms. Franciosi is remarkable ... as is her singing voice. Also impressive is the performance of Baykali Ganambarr as Billy. Known as a stage performer, this is Mr. Ganambarr's first film role and he is terrific and believable as a young man looking to move on from a life that hasn't been kind or fair. Other key supporting roles include Damon Herriman ("Justified") as Hawkins' right hand man, and Charlie Shotwell (CAPTAIN FANTASTIC) as young Eddie. All performances are strong, and filmmaker Kent was obviously attuned to presenting the authenticity of the period, even down to the spoken language. The costumes never look like something out of a Hollywood warehouse and cinematographer Radek Ladczuk captures the harshness of the land and brutality of the people. It's a gripping tale focused on the reaction to the deepest of personal loss. The reward is there for those brave enough to give it a watch.
91 out of 120 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A tough but powerful and rewarding watch
carrythe22 June 2019
We were introduced to the film by one of the lead actors who advised us to "strap ourselves in", which I think was good advice. It does depict some horrific things done by humans to other humans, and a few people walked out of the screening in the first 10 minutes because by far the worst scenes are at the start.

But I recommend sticking with it as it's really about showing glimpses of humanity underneath murderous hatred in an extremely hostile environment. It is not simply a gleeful revenge thriller, despite the often cartoonish evil of the British soldiers and the Tarantino-esque levels of violence. When the revenge does come, it feels like a drop in the ocean of cruelty that surrounds it - by which I mean the everyday treatment of the aboriginal people by the white settlers and of women as property. The larger themes come through with crushing strength.

There isn't much in the way of humour or lightness here, but it manages to be a compelling and rewarding experience even if it feels a bit exhausting. You can tell it was a tough shoot - it's mostly set in the muddy, wet Australian bush - but like the actors I came out feeling it was worth it in the end.
64 out of 92 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
After The Babadook, this is surprising, and amazing!!
jjordmaniakk26 October 2018
A step up in scope for Kent after The Babadook, The Nightingale is a brutal, bloody and honest look into the life of woman and Aboriginal People during a period in Australia's history that many seem to forget, all while telling an amazing story.

Based somewhere around the 1830's, Clare is an Irish convict living in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land as it was known), now able to live a life out of physical chains, though this alleged freedom was made possible by a leftenant with ulterior motives. Her character begins as an innocent woman, but once this man causes tragedy to strike in an ruthless way, her attitude changes. Upset and enraged, she becomes hell bent on chasing the officer responsible. However, he has already left the village, using an Aboriginal tracker to lead his group north towards a promised promotion.

Clare also decides to enlist the help of a tracker, only after others in the community find it apparent that no words can stop her from leaving. An unfortunate but necessary and true trope of films of this nature, the tracker, Billy, is of course an Aboriginal person. The two begin to follow the movements of the officer's group. Their journey is long and fraught with as much emotional torture as there is physical.

The two at first share a very unstable bond, a partnership of sorts that forms the centrepiece of the film; both how their relationship changes over time but also how Billy and Clare change and become new people. Clare is haunted by nightmares during the trek, a reflection of what has happened to her before she left, the reason for her trip of vengeance, and ultimately what she plans to do herself.

The promise of another Schilling at the end of the journey begins to leave Billy's mind as he starts to care about Clare's well being. What started as an extremely hostile mutual agreement morphs as the characters learn more about each other. All this and more demonstrate how two people from different worlds can understand each other as best they can. Their shared hatred towards the English doesn't hurt in this regard, one thing that they have in common as these 'settlers' wreaked havoc in both their lives.

Despite the ruthless violence and images that are peppered throughout, with some scenes hard to watch, this is ultimately about grasping onto hope when the way forward seems impassable. To continue pushing forward despite the odds. The final act drives this idea further and ends on a note that at first seems underwhelming, until the meaning behind it becomes apparent. It then takes on much more power.

A trained singer, all the traditional Irish songs sung by Aisling Franciosis as Clare were recorded live. Her singing adds more to a role take that takes her through what feels like the extremity of every human emotion possible. With her face featuring in many close ups, she couldn't have been more believable. A perfect choice - Kent's determination to use an Irish actress in this independent Australian film was certainly worth the effort.

In his first acting role (though a performer of Aboriginal dance), Baykali Ganambarr won the 'Marcello Mastroianni' Award for Best Young Actor award at Venice, and for good reason. His portrayal of Billy goes hand in hand with Aisling's performance. The chemistry that rises and dips as they journey forward is a testament to Baykali and Aisling's skills. Baykali is seemingly a born actor, though in a Q&A after the film, he was extremely modest and when that exact question was put to him, he didn't know what to say, other that that he hope to act again. This is a man who, if he decides to, could be the next David Gulpilil, who was the first major Aboriginal actor to feature in major Australian films.

An incredibly moving film that could be labelled as an epic adventure, Jennifer Kent has created a near flawless film that emotionally hits hard.
91 out of 142 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Shocking violence. Heartbreaking aftermath. Beautiful love story. Powerful history lesson. All in one. Worth every tear.
owanitall10 August 2019
I want to start by saying that I did not find The Nightingale excessively violent. And believe me, I hate movie violence. But I feel like I've seen trailers for action flicks that had more. Plenty of TV shows do as well. Maybe not rape, but still. Perhaps the reason it didn't feel excessive was because the movie doesn't dwell on it. It avoids gore, except in a few places where it really was necessary. Not only is there absolutely nothing gratuitous, each of those scenes has in it so much more than just "oh, look, they kill", "oh, look, they rape." For example, both women who are raped are mothers. Both are torn away from their very young children in the process. So, not only are they brutally violated, I was horrified thinking what must have been going through their minds knowing that the children are out there, helpless, crying, and they can't protect them.

At the center of the story is an Irish convict named Clare (Aisling Franciosi) and an aboriginal man named Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) whom she convinces to guide her through the wilderness to the men lead by Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin) who "took something from her". But it is nowhere near a simple revenge story.

The film offers a history lesson that might be more affecting than anything with names and dates. It's a sharp and clear look at what violence does to people, not just the victims, but the perpetrators too. It's easy to see what happened there earlier. White people take the land, the aboriginals fight them, soldiers brought in to fight them, the aboriginals fight back, and it spiraled on and on turning the whole place into the land of "bad spirits" that we find in the film. We see people that are dead, even if their bodies are still alive. The white woman holding a baby while looking at her burning house. An older aboriginal tracker forced to witness horrific violence against one of his own and then keep guiding the very perpetrators. A convict who saw two others killed right in front of him - tellingly one by an aboriginal and another by an officer.

The soldiers, who are there not exactly on their own free will, are taught to dehumanize the locals as well as the convicts they are guarding. We can see the beginnings of the process in the young officer and in the convict boy Hawkins takes a brief interest in. We can see how it's kill or be killed, quite possibly by one of your own. But by dehumanizing the others they are dehumanizing themselves eventually becoming like Hawkins and his hapless sidekick Ruse (Damon Herriman). The film doesn't let anyone off the hook. There's a heartbreaking scene that reminds us that even settlers who are nice and kind and, what we would now call, woke are still living on the stolen land.

Clare is an orphan who found herself having to steal to survive which landed her in that hell hole of a place as a young girl. Now 21 she finally has things starting to look up for her. A husband, a little hut, a beautiful baby girl. Life. Hope. But her long earned freedom is in the hands of Hawkins who is mildly infatuated with her and wants to keep her for himself. When her husband's ill conceived attempt to break her free brings on a horrible tragedy, she too is pulled into the vortex of violence. And Billy, who is trying to keep his head down and avoid trouble in spite of having suffered enormously from the colonizers, is pulled in along with her. But it is their relationship that holds them and the film together. Watching it move slowly from an understandable distrust to a deep bond melts your heart. To me it's really a love story.

I found the film pulling me in like few have ever done. It was as if I was there, feeling what the characters were feeling as much as it can be possible sitting in my comfortable 21st century chair. I wasn't just grieving for them, I was grieving with them, a few times finding myself breaking down literally seconds before one of them did. This has never happened to me before. I think it's because everything flows so organically. Every mood change, every action, dream, nightmare is right in its place and palpably real. No small feat for something that is also rich with allegory. And the acting is fantastic across the board. Franciosi's performance is raw and alive, like a pulsating vein as she goes through a myriad of subtle changes of emotions. Layers of emotions. Clare never loses her vulnerability, no matter how much rage she is in or how much confidence she is trying to project. That's what makes her so compelling. Ganambarr is a revelation as Billy. He moves seamlessly, with barely a change of tone between being an occasional comic relief, talking about his culture with quiet, yet forceful passion, and revealing just how much he's been hurt, and he is perfect every step of the way. You can see the pain buried inside him slowly seeping out as the movie progresses. And Hawkins could have been a run of the mill villain, but Claflin fleshes him out as someone who commits violence not out of strength, but out of weakness. He is unable to control anything, from soldiers under his command to his own career. Impotent both figuratively and literally, he kills and rapes as a means of control. He doesn't enjoy sex or anything else for that matter. A miserable creature, even more disgusting than he is scary - perfectly befitting someone in the last stages of inner decay.

The film loses its momentum for a bit towards the end, but just barely. I found it a riveting, breathtaking, mesmerizing watch, well worth my every tear.
52 out of 82 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
An Important, Brave, Honest, and Difficult Film...
mcguiretyler2 September 2019
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.
44 out of 71 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Not for everyone
KensaoLightbringer30 July 2019
This revenge film is not for everyone, to say the least. The story is great, but the movie is extremely violent. The first 30 minutes of the film are hard to see, and for a lot of people, even hard to tolerate. One could argue that the director needed all this violence to properly portray the abuse against women that occurred at that time. A powerful experience, from which we do not emerge unscathed
32 out of 54 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Rape-N-Revenge Exploitation Film Dressed As Serious, Confrontational Period Piece
CinemaClown9 November 2019
Touted as a gritty & tense meditation on the horrors of Australian colonisation yet lacking both grit & tension, Jennifer Kent's The Nightingale is an awfully realised & unnecessarily overlong rape-n-revenge exploitation flick dressed as a serious, artsy & confrontational period piece that suffers from issues of its very own makings, for the film's depiction of the Aboriginal suffering is so misguided that it only adds insult to injury. Also, special shoutout to that #NotAllWhiteMen scene that's shoehorned into its already prolonged narrative for no valid reason whatsoever.
13 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
The Nightingale (2019)
rockman1823 August 2019
The Nightingale

I didn't care about The Babadook so much as a horror film, though I know others loved it. Still, I heard some things about Jennifer Kent's follow up and wanted to see it. It was mixed reviews but mostly positive and I even decided to pay out of pocket for this feature as no AMC theater was playing it to use A-list. I'm quite impressed. Its a long and harrowing journey but one filled with a lot of realization, reflection, and development. This is Kent's most realized work.

The film takes place in Tasmania in 1825, where an Irish convict is raped while her husband and infant child are murdered by corrupt and sadistic British officers. She soon goes on a journey of vengeance to bring bloodshed to those responsible. She enlists the help of an Aboriginal man who knows how to track in the wilderness. Together, the pair go through a tale of survival in the hopes of revenge and bringing justice to the men who have left a day prior. The film stars Aisling Franciosi and Sam Claflin, and Baykali Ganambarr.

The film is gonna split viewers due to its violent nature. There are a few scenes of rape in it and murder that will be uncomfortable for some viewers. Otherwise the film is quite an engorging watch. Franciosi is a terrific lead. Right after her rape, you see the strength in her character develop and the lengths she would go to bring justice. Her development is rapid but unwavering. The film comes from a different time and its interesting to see a film depicting these events.

The film basically felt like a rape and revenge film but not a B movie type from decades ago. Its a fully realized, and quality piece of work with that overarching theme that we saw a lot of in exploitative films. Its a long venture and a slow burn but you will be glued to the screen to watch justice come to those who deserve it. Hopefully if for nothing else, this makes a name for Aislign Franciosi.

7.5/10
22 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
The Dark Past of Australia
pietclausen27 October 2019
A very good movie of Australia's past history how the settlers treated the aboriginals and the convicts deported from England. Not too much is known of these happenings, but this film shows the stark realities of those days, almost two hundred years ago.

The story is fictional but fits perfectly in this era and could have been true. Beautifully told and acted by the main characters giving one food for thought to ponder over.

A top class dramatic movie worth seeing.
15 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A superb film with powerful acting and a violent plot
contactmaz30 October 2019
This has got to have been one of the most difficult films I've watched. The memories of so many scenes will stay with me for a very long time. Some disturbing scenes but I suspect, very true.

Aisling Franciosi's acting was superb and gripping from start to finish, and also, Sam Clafin's acting, which was brutal and cruel.

I was fiddling about with the film's aspect ratio until I realised that it was meant to be what it was and thinking about it, this gave the film more impact. This film was powerful on so many levels and recognition must be given to the director's great work.

Highly recommended.... and prepare to be shocked!
14 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Disappointing, strange creative choices
docosaurus10 September 2019
Jennifer Kent's sophomore effort, The Nightingale, is beset with some interesting but ultimately flawed creative choices. The 1.37:1 ratio aspect choice is puzzling and defeats any effort to capture the truely spectacular wilderness in any cinematic sense. An opportunity lost to really describe what should've been another essential character in the movie. Instead there is very little in the way of establishing any sense of geography or location. The closed off framing creates a claustrophobic vibe that even applies to the exteriors. The villains are drawn so broadly as to almost descend into caricature with repeated maniacal giggling and shouting that dilutes any real menace. In fact our heroine seems to have no overt concerns as to any potential danger from said villains eg previous rape/assault attempts or threats to revoke her free woman status. So when the attack comes it feels contrived with no foreboding or dread preceding it. In fact the emphasis on showing the multiple rape scenes just dulls any significant impact the act should rightly impart on the audience. If anything this feels like an ambitious debut from a talented independent artist with a limited budget and even more limited creative toolbox. The 136 minute running time isn't justified, in fact what The Nightingale needs most is to be reduced by 30 minutes. It's languid and suffers for it. Conversely The Babadook still impresses with its tension, taught story-telling, beautifully realised characters and excellent film craft. Sadly The Nightingale could learn a few lessons from it.
57 out of 120 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
WHAT THE **** HAPPENED HERE...?
kietkyho31 August 2019
The Nightingale was not a good film. I wanted to like this film... I really did... female Australian director, previously made the Babadook, has a lot of indigenous actors... there's a lot of promise for a great film, and for the first 15 to 20 minutes, I was fairly on board... then the movie just turns to absolute crap... oh yeah spoilers ahead, cause I can't really get into why this film is bad without spoiling parts of it.

First off, the sound design is awful. Every time a character talks loudly or yells, you can literally hear their audio clipping... Yes the film was mostly shot outdoors and there's no musical score, so doing sound design with these constraints in mind is very bold... but it was pulled off really badly...

The directing of the action scenes was really bad too... a lot of generic quick cuts so none of the blows feel like blows at all...

The editing was absolutely atrocious and was probably the big thing that ruined this film for me... there are so many potentially powerful scenes in the movie that just get COMPLETELY RUINED by the constant cutting to different angles and perspectives.. and the editing is also responsible for a lot of unanswered plot points / plot holes too... like was this cut trying to imply passage of time? Or did you forget that our actors were being chased just a moment ago, but now thanks to this edit, they're fine..? There are so many scenes that are left completely unanswered and just get ruined with these sudden cuts.

The acting was all over the shop, Aisling Franciosi and Sam Claflin were great, Baykali Ganambarr was good... until he had to cry... then it was hilariously bad... a lot of acting from a lot of the minor characters was AWFUL... there's a scene where these characters are being attacked by these aborigines, so one of the white dudes shoots and kills this indigenous girl they've been keeping hostage... and the response, by the indigenous actor, to the girl being killed was HILARIOUS.... such an under acted response to seeing someone literally die in front of you... nice... also what was the deal with Matthew Sunderland's character (the guy who walks the horse)... he literally didn't utter a single line of dialogue or emote in anyway, he just tags along with Sam Clafin's group of soldiers, walks a horse and is never heard of again...

Also, the horse. There are parts of this film where the characters are clearly walking on a 4WD path, and also parts where the terrain CLEARLY cannot be traversed by a horse... and conveniently in those scenes... the horse is absent, then one magical cut later and the horse is back with them.... There's also a really unintentionally funny scene, where our Aisling and Baykali's character are being chased by these people, and they somehow manage to lose them in the shrubbery... even though there's a great big horse you're trying to hide....

Also Aisling character is an inconsistent idiot. She's a character, whom you as an audience, is trying really hard to root for, but then she does things that go completely against her character and how she was established, as well as doing some incredibly stupid things as well. Her dream sequences were a complete and utter waste of time and added nothing to the story. The decision to present this film in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio also seemed to add nothing to the film.

The fact that this film has a "controversy" section on its wiki page is absolutely laughable. Yes, the first 20 minutes of the film is a bit confronting, but honestly the rest of the film is just.... boring. If you want a film that will make you feel absolutely sick to your stomach in an artistic, beautiful yet messed up way, go watch Irreversible.

Seriously... what the **** happened here.... I'm giving this a 4/10... but it's honestly closer to a 3....
60 out of 129 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
Total Misfire
vikascoder5 September 2019
If you have your hopes high that this new film from the unnervingly good Babadook's director will provide some revelatory revenge drama, then you are in for a big disappointment. This is firmly in the category of, "it seems great on paper" but it turned out to be really really bad.

The Nightingale has no originality of thought considering the themes that it portrays of the violent history of colonial conflicts with indigenous people and assorted immigrants has been done very well by other great movies already and done in a much refined and artistic way than this piece of fizzled hamfisted effort. The story and its execution is juvenile, the sexual violence handled unsophisticated, dialogues are derivative, the acting and directing a total failure in evoking emotions. Rather it all seems like a first effort from an untalented hack.

Very disappointing and laughably so.
44 out of 94 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Good film, quite violent, overly long and somewhat improbable
george-84111 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I enjoyed this film but it's not perfect. I do think it's longer than it needs to be There is some serious violence although none of it is really extreme and, as my stranger/neighbor seated near me at the theatre said at the end, "not like it's out of place."

There are some implausibilities. Like the heroine's horse. It's explained early on that even though she's still technically indentured her husband has completed his sentence and is working for himself and was able to buy her a horse, complete with saddle, saddlebags, holster for the rifle, etc. They make clear at one point that this is a very valuable asset since she offers to sell it for "ten pounds" and give the proceeds to the aboriginal if he helps her, emphasizing that with that much money, he wouldn't have to work again (I do believe she makes that statement.)

(Also in the course of several days journeying we never see them feeding or watering said mount. Maybe all this occurred off-screen but since our heroes regularly discuss the need to find food for themselves, I'm not sure they had any for the horse, especially when at one point she loses the small bag that evidently did have some supplies.)

In any case, it's clear that a personal mount is very valuable SINCE NOBODY ELSE SEEMS TO HAVE ONE, not even the lieutenant and his underlings when they undertake a hazardous journey in pursuit of his promotion. Not even the other "chain gangs" she runs into en route when she pursues them. It seems like the horse is a plot necessity so she can escape from the dangers she encounters en route, which she does more than once. This seems contrived to me. It's beyond me why British officers serving in the Tasmanian outback would not have access to horses. Other than that this would have undermined the story.

I also don't understand why she is left alive after the soldiers kill her husband and baby. In fact, the ensign is ordered by the lieutenant to kill her yet he only hits her with the butt of his rifle, and she wakes up a day later to the nightmare her life has become. If these soldiers are ready to rape her in front of her husband, kill him and then kill her baby to stop it crying, it's clear they wouldn't have hesitated to kill her as well. In fact, that was the lieutenant's stated intention. Well, I do understand why she is left alive... the writer would not have had a story to tell, but it does seem improbable. And that troubles this viewer.

The ending is enigmatic, and there's no way to avoid that since this wasn't going to end well for her, after being involved in the murders of two soldiers in their rooms and really having no way to escape justice. If the film ran a few more minutes, it would have to depict her being hanged.

The only character who maybe survives to enjoy the remains of a happy life is maybe... her horse?

The cinematography is excellent, the scenery beautiful and haunting in spots and the music and singing do contribute greatly to the story . A film well worth viewing, IF you can tolerate some rough rape scenes and some bloody shooting and stabbing. Watch the credits since they explain that apparently a Tasmanian language was created for the movie, based on a "real" language. Interesting..
19 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Deeply moving revenge story in colonial Tasmania
lucygracetrotman9 September 2018
Jennifer Kent has crafted an incredible, important, moving piece of cinema that portrays humanity at its darkest, bravest and most beautiful of moments.

With truly fantastic (Venice film festival award winning) turns from the cast, this story of love, greed, abuse of power, revenge and resistance in the face of evil, will surely touch every viewer. The most striking things for me were the way in which the horrific behaviour by British colonial soldiers in this film is just a drop in the ocean compared to the crimes of British empire as a whole, yet this small cluster of soldiers had such a colossal impact of one woman's life, it gives a face to the suffering and atrocities committed. And secondly, the film highlights the gentle beauty and perseverance of aboriginal tradition and spirituality in the face of adversity. Every school child in the UK and Australasia should see this film as a matter of necessity in understanding our past.
57 out of 133 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Too long, too sad, no saving grace
wwassom1422 November 2019
This movie is just painful occurrence after painful occurrence with little I'm the way of saving grace. I feel nothing but worse after watching it
10 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
****** Long Trudge
GManfred7 August 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Most of this film consists of an extended slog through the forests of Tasmania as our heroine tries to hunt down her tormentor, with the help of an aborigine tracker. I wanted to like this movie much more than I did, mainly because I despair of anything worthwhile from Hollywood and indies are the only hope. The actors strive admirably and give good performances but are handicapped by the sluggish pace and extended periods when nothing of import seems to happen.

Aisling Franciosi does a good job as our heroine and Sam Claflin is a dastardly villain, even if the screenplay pushes him over the top at times. And the climax - or anticlimax - was unsettling and lacks a payoff for the viewer. Good work by the photographer, set and costume designers who recreated the atmosphere and ambience of the period. Just needed a heavier hand from the editor and an extra writing help for the director.

****** 6/10 - Website no longer prints my star rating.
13 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Brilliant movie, acting and scirpt
ebookgamer10 June 2019
Don't believe the negative hype in the Daily Mail, or comments left there by people who never saw this superb film. It is realistic and after the first 20 minutes keep watching as the film unfolds into a masterpiece.
31 out of 72 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
What the F happened here?!?!
Just_watching2 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Why?? Why??? Why???? This is what I was asking myself at the end of the movie. You were raped in front of your husband, your baby murdered in front of you, you are left for dead. You go on a long treacherous quest to find these men who did this and when you finally catch up to him you wimp out??!! Ok, I get it, this man put fear in you, controlled you, took everything away from you, so fear can consume you. But when you meet him again all you can do is muster up the rage and courage to hurt his feelings???!!! The ending ruined this movie that started off with such promise. So of course our heroine, that we have been following this whole time had her revenge but by the hand of her companion. Seriously?!?! This could have been a solid 10 but let's make the heroine weak and frail at the end and have the man take the spot light. We should have been following him the whole movie!! Im not anti man, I am a man but I do love a good heroine character. This was not what I was expecting. Very disappointing.
15 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
A complete rip off of "True Grit"
random-7077825 October 2019
Take "True Grit," add long pointless prologue, add lot more gratuitous violence, film in 4:3 four no reason, and make several core elements utterly improbable -- and finally force in the anachronism of ham-handed current culture of outrage and being perpetually offended, and you have "the Nightingale." Or you can skip this mess and watch the much better scripted, paced, acted, filmed directed "True Grit."
25 out of 57 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Powerful
zakashx15 August 2019
Almost accurate description of what would have happened in the 18th Century Australia.

Some people may argue that some of the scenes are not appropriate, but things like that happened in the past and is currently happening in present day America. Look the the Epstein, Weinstein, Smullett, and cop shooting ethnic folks cases.

It's a good watch!
20 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
Started well but then WTF!
roguegrafix25 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
As the title says, it started well and then it went downhill seriously.

Firstly, I see the producers have taken over the Trivia section with their own blowing of trumpets.

The film starts well but then degenerates. Partly, this is due to the setting. Three days walk from Launceston and you are talking 45-60 miles. The scenery could be Mole Creek or perhaps Ben Lomond way but the majority of the film is shot in the highlands or the southwest. So totally unrealistic from any Taswegian's point of view.

Then there's the female lead. Bold at first but after gruesomely killing the killer of her child, she reverts to a sniveling child upon meeting her rapist. Just went back into cliches and stereotypes but note you feminists, it was the male who did the ultimate killings, proving that the girl really was a child and not worth denoting an entire film to.

The blackfella again reverts into the stereotypes of the "noble savage" and carries it off badly.

The final scene takes place on a beach with a raging surf. The only place close to Launceston like that is Low Head -- another 2-3 days travel by horse. So again totally unrealistic.

It seems to me that after the first 45-minutes, the producers wanted to take the tale from serious vengeance to a woke perspective. It should have been a chase film like Apocalypto or a film of vengeance . But it sadly delivers none of the sort-- something of a mix-mash of whatever. View it at your own discretion.
23 out of 54 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
I felt every emotion she did
aliciawarner-6047630 October 2019
I really enjoyed this movie, being Australian myself it is quite unsettling to see it portrayed how our country treated the original inhabitants. Amazing acting, I cried numerous times at the raw, unforgiving scenes which personally I thought made the movie more substantial and were necessary.

The ruthless treatment of aboriginals hurt my heart, Billy was an amazing character for what I believe is the actor's debut movie.

The connection between Clare and Billy was genuinely felt by the end of the film.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie although hard to watch at times, and I wont stop thinking about it for a long time. Really made me feel.
10 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Phenomenal, unbelievable and gripping.
jeremytylercole4 August 2019
This film is unnerving, disturbing, beautiful and heart wrenching. I was biting my nails, gripping my seat and unaware I was watching a film since I was so enveloped in the cinematic glory.
12 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Intense, brutal and honest
christopher_turano18 August 2019
A film set in 19th century colonial Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) where the harsh and beautiful environment is the canvas upon which the story develops.

A confluence of free English settlers, convicts - both British and Irish - and Tasmanian Aborigines with little understanding or empathy produces a brutality that is raw and shocking.

One feels immersed in the film largely a result of the choice of Academy aspect ratio, making the characters the focus of every scene despite the overwhelming grandeur of the natural environment.

A thoroughly rewarding experience that has the potential to profoundly move and make one think about Australia's colonial past.
13 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed