The Nightingale Image

The Nightingale

By Norman Gidney | April 20, 2019

Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.

When Australian auteur Jennifer Kent made a splash at Sundance in 2014 with her debut feature The Babadook, the entire world took notice. 5 years later she returns with a sweeping, brutal epic set in 1825 Tasmania called The Nightingale that is a vastly different and very personal film.

Our story opens on Clare (Aisling Franciosi) who is serving the last days of her sentence doing menial work for the soldiers at a Brittish outpost in Tasmania. Free to roam, she and her husband have an infant daughter and have built a modest hovel, in which to serve out their respective sentences in the penal colony. Waiting only on her papers declaring her freedom, Clare works in subservience to the abusive Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin). One evening, after receiving a bit of bad news, Hawkins and his men commit an act of shocking violence against Clare and her family, leaving her with nothing.

With everything gone and a fiery sense of justice, Clare sets off…to find her attackers and kill them…”

Hawkins and his men flee north and the local superiors are loath to take the Irish female ex-con’s word for what has occurred. With everything gone and a fiery sense of justice, Clare sets off into the Tasmanian terrain to find her attackers and kill them. She has nothing but a few supplies, her husband’s horse, and a small amount of money with which to hire a guide. Initially, Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) is reluctant to guide Clare through the wilderness. An Aboriginal who has seen “The Black War” play out around him with the colonizers committing outright genocide on the original inhabitants of the land. However, a mutual hatred for the British and a mutual need for justice guides Clare and Billy to a place of trust in a common goal.

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  1. KenR says:

    Another Aussie movie that signals the limited mindset of its writer/director/producer within the first 10mins – it doesn’t get much uglier than this tosh. Some moviemakers appear to simply want to lay claim to making a new ‘gross’ movie, to out-gross the one that went before, that’s not much of a claim to fame. Jenifer Kent’s prior claim to fame came in the form of the horror entry “The Babadook “14 The Nightingale is set in early Tasmanian colonial history but its head is deeply lost in cheap horror. While sadly there have always been atrocities involved in settling new lands (the world over) this work tends to come across as the anti-white PC brigade –pushing a cheap ‘them and us’ mentality—solely for the sake of spreading increased hatred.

    98% of all whites featured are deliberately shown to be as bad as bad can possibly get – so bad as to be simplistic caricatures, designed to manipulate the audience to want to see them killed in the most horrific manner possible, and of course, they are. The sensationalistic foul language is right out of today and equally overdone as the sordid voyeurism. For the industry to lord over writings such as this, is demeaning to the trade, and won’t bring respect or many ticket sales from general audiences. The only following this picture is likely to garnish will be those who relish schlock horror and repugnant, vulgar brutality. When the bulk of performers are not over-acting it appears it might just work but this is very short-lived. The claustrophobic cinematography (shot to no advantage in small screen format!) seems to perhaps be attempting to hide the over cleared and developed landscape for its time.

    Those who ‘think’ about what ‘entertainment’ they are being fed, will see so many ridiculous plot failings and under-developed situations that it’s difficult to see who this nasty mess could benefit, and doesn’t ever warrant a second look. It’s time to move on and help overcome this eternal nurturing of hatred or tell it with a little more balance and intelligent respect for the viewer.

  2. Norma Terrigno says:

    Absolutely brilliant movie and probably THE BEST that has come from the Aussies. Kudos for depicting a truth regarding the treatment of Aboriginal people as well as those living in a penal colony. The world must know and
    history has to be presented as it really happened. This movie is no more brutal that others depicting war and genocide such as Apocalypto and Hatred. Bravo…a WELL DONE movie.

  3. cinemay says:

    Wao très bon Nightingale sans aucun doute bon et dur

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