Film Review: Wish You Were Here

| 26 April , 2012 | Reply

Directed by: Kieran Darcy-Smith
Starring: Felicity Price, Joel Edgerton, Teresa Palmer, Antony Starr
Sassi\’s Star Rating: 4.5/5

A string of bad decisions can get anyone in trouble. Overseas, the slide to danger is often expedited. In Wish You Were Here, four Australians travel to Cambodia for a relaxing holiday. When only three return to Sydney, viewers are taken on a captivating journey to find out what happened to the missing member.

Alice and Dave Flannery are expecting their third child. Before the chaos of a new baby descends, they join Alice\’s carefree sister Steph and her boyfriend Jeremy on a Cambodian holiday.

Energetic shots flick through the streets of Cambodia, where the couples enjoy the country\’s charm. Suddenly Alice (Felicity Price), Dave (Joel Edgerton), and Steph (Teresa Palmer), are back in Sydney, helping and hindering authorities efforts to find out what happened to Jeremy (Antony Starr) on their last night in Cambodia.

The film\’s non-linear timeline will keep viewers\’ rapt attention, as following the film is akin to putting together a puzzle. While non-linear timelines have a tendency to feel disjointed, Wish You Were Here floats seamlessly from present to past.

With superb acting, a fascinating plot, and great cinematography, you\’d never guess it was a low-budget film. All the actors give a stellar performance, but Price truly shines as the beautiful and stoic Alice, caring for her children and trying to hold her formerly ordinary life together in a rather extreme crisis. The role was essentially created for Price, as she co-wrote the script with her husband, director Kieran Darcy-Smith.

On talking about the film, Darcy-Smith said, ‘My absolute priority, from script to screen, is truth. Truth of performance, of character, and of story.\’

This is apparent in Wish You Were Here. The film feels very real, an effect Darcy-Smith strived for. There are no sets; every scene feels lived in because it is. Reluctant to use artificial lighting, the film used as much available light as possible and that determined many of the stunning locations around Sydney. Much like backgrounds in theatre, the scenes were composed not to take attention from the actor, but rather to better capture the actor\’s emotion. Shots are intimate and while most of it is handheld, it is incredibly steady, giving the viewer a feeling of inclusion in every scene.

The film takes you through a rollercoaster of drama as you discover each piece of the mystery of Jeremy\’s disappearance, and, what almost takes precedence, how Alice, Steph, and Dave will continue with their lives as each truth comes to light.

A superb, intriguing Australian film that can stand proudly on the world stage!

Wish You Were Here is in cinemas now.


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