Since she terrified us back in 2014 with The Babadook, horror fans have been eager to see what director Jennifer Kent would do next.
Now, the filmmaker has returned with her new film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year but comes to cinemas this August.
Titled The Nightingale, the gory film is set in Tasmania in the 1800s during the colonisation of Australia. It follows the story of 21-year-old Clare (Aisling Franciosi, aka GoT’s Lyanna Stark), who is tormented and abused by her master, Lieutenant Hawkins, played by Sam Claflin (aka The Hunger Games:Mockingjay’s Finnick Odair).
When authorities fail to bring Hawkins to justice after he commits a horrific crime, Clare takes matters into her own hands to pursue the man and track him down.
You can watch the trailer here:
Describing the movie, IFC Films said:
The Nightingale is a meditation on the consequences of violence and the price of seeking vengeance.
Set during the colonization of Australia in 1825, the film follows Clare, a 21-year-old Irish convict. Having served her 7-year sentence, she is desperate to be free of her abusive master, Lieutenant Hawkins who refuses to release her from his charge.
Clare enlists Aboriginal tracker Billy, played by Baykali Ganambarr, to guide her through the wilderness and help locate Hawkins.
The description continues:
The terrain and the prevailing hostilities are frightening, as fighting between the original inhabitants of the land and its colonisers plays out in what is now known as ‘The Black War.’ Clare and Billy are hostile towards each other from the outset, both suffering their own traumas and mutual distrust, but as their journey leads them deeper into the wilderness, they must learn to find empathy for one another, while weighing the true cost of revenge.
The film is already impressing critics, with Variety’s Guy Lodge calling it ‘a historical revenge tale of shattering brutality and hard-earned grace’.
Writing in The Guardian, Ben Croll describes the film as:
A particularly brutal serving of Tasmanian gothic, Jennifer Kent’s follow-up to The Babadook tells its tale of violence and inhumanity in a surprisingly hushed cadence. Weaving themes of colonialism and class into the broad strokes of a won’t-stop-can’t-stop revenge potboiler, the film marks a step forward for the Australian director in terms of ambition and scope.
It’s not just critics the film has found favour with, as those who have seen already said it was ‘gorgeously shot, powerfully acted, and intense as all hell’. Another said: ‘Saw this at Sundance. Was my favorite film out of all I got to see’, while another simply added:’Looks like Oscar-potential’.
The Nightingale is in cinemas from August 2.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.