Tuesday, 18 September 2012

REVIEW - WISH YOU WERE HERE


An assured feature film debut from Kieran Darcy-Smith, successful more in execution than in intent - it's a little unambitious. The scenario is a good one. A friend goes missing on holiday in Vietnam; missing person plots are always intriguing, but rarely conclude in a satisfying manner. Darcy-Smith and co-writer / wife / leading lady Felicity Price manage an impressive feat of developing both tales of what happened before the disappearance and what is happening after, alongside conflicting accounts of what happened, misleading accounts and outright lies. Remarkably, the story is told with utter clarity, and the pacing is perfect in maintaining tension and curiosity even as attention towards the mystery wanes as other storylines are concentrated upon. The relationship between the leads (Price and Joel Edgerton) is, almost instantly, the central narrative strand, and its emotional contours compliment those of the Vietnam strand (albeit expectedly, as both characters are living in its aftermath). If events are consistently gripping, though, they're rarely surprising, and frequently rather too predictable to be as resonant as they might have otherwise been. The only real surprise is in the true reason for the disappearance, a development which is as startling as it is disappointingly reliant on coincidence, a feature which is all the more apparent due to the good sense and realism with which it is embellished. The performances are all good, and, at a little over 90 minutes, it's a lean, smart little film, glossily made and likely to appeal to many.