MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Wish You Were Here’

The newest film from Australians KIERAN DARCY-SMITH (director and co-writer) and JOEL EDGERTON (star of the recent hit Warrior) breaks new ground in the Aussie film scene, but ultimately falls shy of the heights of international recognition.

The central plot focuses on two middle-aged, Sydney-based couples who need to get away for a week to escape the day-to-day routine that has become life. Their destination? Cambodia, of course. Not to undermine the tension and gravity associated with the central event of the film, but basically, it’s about a guy who takes too many drugs whilst dancing under the full moon and gets lost.

Next thing the other three know, their companion has become the latest in a long line of missing persons. So yeah, not a movie to watch if you’re planning a South East Asian holiday anytime soon. It may scare the shit out of you.

DARCY-SMITH manages to pull the film out of the depths of such a devastating event through some clever cinematography, particularly in the vivid beach flashbacks. There is a beautiful shot of JOEL EDGERTON (who plays the part of a father caught in the lurch of something much bigger than himself with aplomb) staggering through a still-smouldering party-site with a little more morning-after guilt than one man could ever bear.

Unfortunately, these moments are so memorable because they aren’t exactly a common occurrence. There is a period in the middle of the film where the pace and dialogue dip simultaneously with audience hopes that this might be the Aussie breakthrough the country (or the 2% of Australians who actually watch Australian films – not a joke) needs.

Things do pick up towards the end where EDGERTON finds himself in what can only be described as a clusterfuck – yeah, the movie thrives on the misfortune of the characters, which is fine because none of them are particularly entertaining whilst sitting at home thinking about what to cook for dinner.

Apart from playing the “I know where they filmed this scene!” game – always a favourite in general Aussie film-fare – DARCY-SMITH actually does a decent job of carrying through with what he set out to do: portray the emptiness felt by those who have had a friend disappear.

‘Wish You Were Here’ is in cinemas April 25. Purple Sneakers has 10 double passes to giveaway; see HERE.

Words by Michael Ouzas

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