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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.
The Nightingale is a bold and punishing work that forces you to confront and grapple with its depictions of historical injustice; braver and more mature than The Babadook, its horrors prove more terrifying because they stem from such a dark and shameful truth.
The Nightingale is a refreshing, necessary reminder that sexual violence isn’t just a trendy topic that exists solely in the abstract, but is primarily something experienced which cannot be reduced to a film trope or easily prevented in real life.
Acclaimed filmmakers often face the challenge of big expectations on their second features, but Kent joins the ranks of sophomore filmmakers whose new movies expand on their debuts in startlingly ambitious ways.
Somewhat grotesquely jeered at its first Venice press screening, this is violent, hard-graft auteur filmmaking that isn’t out to make friends or play nice, and certainly won’t match The Babadook’s crossover art-genre success with audiences.