The Nightingale

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Australia | 2018 | 136 minutes | Jennifer Kent

Opens August 30, 2019

Australian writer/director Jennifer Kent's second directorial effort, The Nightingale, is a revenge film set in 19th-century Tasmania. Instead of a babadook, however, this time Kent depicts horror in the form of colonial white British soldiers who brutalize women and Aboriginal locals.

The film tells the story of two such victims, a young Irish convict, Clare (Aisling Franciosi), and an Aboriginal man named Billy (Baykali Ganambarr). After she has been raped and her family murdered, Claire secures Billy's services as a guide, and they proceed to track the army officer who had perpetrated the atrocities, one Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin). Trekking through the dangerous wilderness, the tension is heightened by the mutual distrust between Clare and Billy, who eventually forge a bond over their shared hatred of the English. Even without much dialogue, Franciosi and Ganambarr's performances are riveting, with sharply alternating closeups capturing their body language and facial expressions that draw out this examination of hatred and oppression. Though hard to watch in its most violent moments, the plight of Clare and Billy, and the feminist revisionist Western they find themselves in, will resonate with contemporary audiences.

  • Director: Jennifer Kent
  • Principal Cast: Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Baykali Ganambarr, Damon Herriman, Harry Greenwood
  • Country: Australia, Canada, USA
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 136 minutes
  • Producer: Kristina Ceyton, Steve Hutensky, Jennifer Kent, Bruna Papandrea
  • Screenplay: Jennifer Kent
  • Cinematographers: Radek Ladczuk
  • Language: English, Aboriginal, Scottish Gaelic
  • Rating: R