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The Nightingale Quick View Grade: B+

Source: IMDB


The Nightingale tells a revenge story about a married Irish convict Clare (Aisling Franciosi), whom is a nightingale for the British soldiers. Tragedy has happened in Clare’s life done by the British soldiers, as Clare goes on a journey to hunt down the soldiers whom struck tragedy to Clare’s life. But Clare will not be alone, as she’ll be led the way by an aboriginal tracker Billy (Baykali Ganambarr). This film has been on my radar for a long time, it even was my most anticipated film for the month of August. Unfortunately this film never came to theaters... Stupidity by theatre chains in Vegas I do say so myself. I actually didn’t watch a single trailer for this so I had no idea what to expect, but what drawn my attention towards this film, was the image of Clare’s face covered in blood. I wanted to know why this woman was looking extremely upset and why her face was covered in blood in the process. The Nightingale is a film that is going to trouble audience, this is a tough film to sit through at certain moments. For me: I really liked The Nightingale, I believe for Jennifer Kent director/writer of the film this is a great follow up from her debut The Babadook. I adored the cinematography of this film, it completely reminds me of The Witch the way this film is shot. Lots of memorable great shots in the dark, I loved that one shot of the lady standing by a little hut on fire, if you’re a fan of cinematography this is gonna touch some strings for you. Solid costume design as well. The Score was solid, mostly driven by songs sung by Clare, which each one was truly memorable in their own unique way. The cast in this film was great, everyone did a great job in this film. Aisling Franciosi playing our main lead Clare was absolutely excellent, this is one fantastic performance that is getting absolutely no praise from anyone and it’s a flat out insult this is not talked about as award consideration. She literally gives it all on screen for this role, it’s an extremely challenging part and Aisling just alienates this role, she’s on my ballot for sure. The best thing this film does with Clare is how we handle trauma. Like earlier in the film Clare is told by Billy this is not the way to seek justice, for what has happened to Clare. Normally you agree with Billy as you don’t wish bad on those whom done bad to you, you rather see progression instead as you continue to live peacefully. But in Clare’s case: How are you supposed to not go that route?! Everything in Clare’s life has been taken from her, leaving her with nothing, so you can see why she’s ending up on the route she wants to take on. Another key thing is Clare’s struggle in getting her revenge, due to the fact she’s terrified of this one solider. Though she wants to kill this man, she’s afraid because not only terrified of this man but also terrified in resulting in violence. The antagonist Hawkins played by Sam Claflin was excellent as well... Oh my lord I hated this guy. A great written villain as you just hate the sight of this man from start to finish, a completely despicable character as Claflin truly nails the performance where you despise him to the core. A performance that really caught me by surprise was Baykali Ganambarr playing Billy as I thought he was great too and perhaps my favorite character in the film. Billy comes from a place of peace, despite dealing with a dark past as his family and his people are slaughtered by the British. Billy is quite a character the way he expresses his personality and his love for his culture/tribe. The character development from this character is the best out of any character, as time goes on you see Billy wanting to partake in Clare’s motive against the British, as he understands why Clare wants to result in violence and why these men truly deserve the worst that needs to come for them. A couple flaws to mention in this film. Some scenes ran on longer than they should have, some of the dream sequences felt unnecessary even though a couple of them were effective in the scare department. This film offers more than just a dark drama. You can look at it as a horror film as there are effective moments of horror elements. Surprisingly enough you can look at it as some sort of comedy, as it’s effective in dark humor, which I’m surprised Kent even tried to attempt this in her tragedy film... But it worked. You can also look at it as an adventure simply because Clare and Billy do go on an adventure to take down them British bastards. All these elements together and you get a well crafted film, that barely gets dull at any points. I felt it was a well told story from start to finish. I felt the third act was the best as you can see Billy’s arc completed, as the film just ends in a more appropriate ending, to where it all feels well earned. It can also be a film worth seeking out a deeper meaning to the way we approach revenge, as to why people seek it and how they struggle succeeding in revenge. The film feels extremely important by not only the revenge aspect, but also Billy’s side of the film. It really got under my skin quite a few times, like what was the purpose in doing so much harm to Billy’s people?! Power and Greed?! It’s disgusting. It’s quite an insult comparing today’s day in age to the times back then, sure our world isn’t completely perfect, but compared to these times?! It’s a slap in the fact to those people, be proud of progression. Overall, The Nightingale is a pretty damn good film. I highly recommend checking this one out, you won’t be disappointed I guarantee it. I do want to talk on the “controversy” Jennifer Kent briefly got while making this film... What the hell wrong with y’all?! What exactly did Jennifer Kent deserve to get hated on?! She didn’t butcher the material that was given, she made a pretty damn good film that is wholesome to the elements she was dealing with, I can’t understand the stupidity in today’s world why people can’t let artists create art. In the wise words of Kanye West: SHUT UP AND ENJOY THE GREATNESS! -Mitch Smietana

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