THE NIGHTINGALE Is One Hell of a Brutal and Depressing Revenge Thriller - Sundance Review
The Nightingale comes from director Jennifer Kent, who is the same director that brought us the horror film The Babadook. But, this new movie is not that. The Nightingale is a completely different kind of film that tells the story of a completely different kind of nightmare that really could mess you up.
The movie crosses the line in brutal violence, and there are several cringe-worthy uncomfortable moments that will make you want to look away. I’m desensitized to a lot of stuff that we see in horror films these days like blood and gore, but this takes the content and psychological subject matter to a level that even I had a hard time watching.
Within the first 30 minutes of the film, I witnessed one of the most disturbing things that I think I’ve ever seen in a film. I can’t seem to shake those visuals from out of my head. I won’t get into the nitty gritty details, but I will tell the you pertinent plot points.
The story is set in 1820 in Tasmania and follows a young girl who is an Irish convict who loses her family in a terribly horrific attack. This tragic event sets her on journey of revenge against the people who did this. She is determined to find the men and kill them. Here’s the official synopsis:
One night in 1820s Tasmania, Clare, a young Irish convict, loses everything she holds dear after her family is horrifically attacked. She’s immediately driven to track down and seek revenge against the British officer who oversaw the horror, so she enlists the service of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy. Marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past, Billy reluctantly agrees to take her through the interior of Tasmania. On this brutal quest for blood, Clare gets much more than she bargained for.
A snarling Aisling Franciosi drives this merciless revenge thriller through the unforgiving land of 19th-century Tasmania, a time when British colonists nearly decimated Aboriginal Tasmanians. With horrors around every corner, Jennifer Kent’s new nightmare will traumatize the weak of heart, but those willing will discover a majestic achievement most striking in its haunting moments of grace.
The movie may be difficult to watch, in fact several people got up and walked out of the theater during the film, but it tells an incredibly strong story of a young woman’s journey of vengeance. The film also addresses themes of inequality of race and gender during that time period.
I also have to say that the lead actress, Aisling Franciosi, gives an amazing award-worthy performance. She brought a strength and power to this character that was truly impressive.