Monday, April 23, 2012

Wish You Were Here

At last! A film I enjoyed!

Being a slightly pretentious film buff who fancies herself as a bit of a young Margaret Pomeranz, I was a little disappointed to discover that I didn't enjoy many of her recent film picks. Where she was jubilantly proclaiming the artistic wonders of films such as Marcy Mary whatever her name is, I was feeling inconsolably empty. While Margaret basked in the acting glory of George Clooney, I could only raise a half-hearted meh. Maybe it was an age thing...

I'm not sure of Margaret's views on this film, but I can tell you that I loved Australia's latest great film offering, Wish You Were Here.

Wish You Were Here is every young Australian holiday-maker's worst nightmare. Set in beautiful Cambodia, the seedy underbelly of the cheap south east Asian destinations we Aussies love to make our holiday playground is never far away. Images of ratty dogs, children living in poverty, pigs travelling live on their way to market are spliced with typical holiday images that I'm sure are familiar to all of us. The frenetic energy of night markets, steaming bowls of pho, elephant souvenirs, tanned skin and wild parties.

Disaster strikes though, when one of the group disappears after a full moon-type party.

The story of what happens is slowly unravelled, as we dive ever deeper in to this tightly wound psychological drama. Joel Edgerton plays Dave, an ordinarily easy-going bloke who has returned from his Cambodian get-away more stressed than ever. With the Australian Federal Police asking tricky questions, strange cars following him at night, and the women in his life at war, Dave isn't having a good week.

Described as an unfunny version of The Hangover Part II,  I love the way this film shows the layers of lies we weave in our daily lives. Often to protect the feelings of others, and sometimes simply because the truth is too ugly to say out loud. Cambodia and Sydney are lusciously filmed (where did they film that from in Sydney??) - with the juiciness of each location juxtaposed by their menacing sides - and the dangerous situations we willingly embrace for reasons of fun or deception.

I really hope you get to see this one. A beautiful cast (Teresa Palmer = gorgeous; Joel Edgerton in glasses = hot), stunning locations and a great story. 4 stars.

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