“Wish You Were Here” is the debut feature and international success film from Australian filmmaker Kieran Darcy-Smith. It tells the story of an idyllic sun-soaked Cambodian holiday which quickly changes into an absolute nightmare for a group of friends in this tense Australian thriller about a missing person. Adultery, drug-use and deception surfacing as the tragedy rapidly deteriorates the relationships of those closely involved.
From the opening scenes, featuring the carefree adventures of two couples: the pregnant Alice (Felicity Price) and her husband, Dave (Joel Edgerton), and Alice’s younger sister Steph (Teresa Palmer) and her new boyfriend Jeremy (Antony Starr); holidaying in the beautiful setting of Cambodia flips from the tourist scenes of bars and beach parties at night, to a bloodstained shirtless Dave staggering through a deserted field in the early morning, it’s made clear something unsettling has happened.
The film’s twisting non-linear storyline built through flashbacks leaves clues to what has happened in sharp bursts, leaving the audience on the edge of their seat not truly understanding the confused circumstances surrounding husband and wife Dave and Alice until well into the film.
The film at times seeming drawn out as though the random pieces of the puzzle will never actually fall into place, I as a viewer becoming almost lost among all the seemingly unrelated clues midway through the film, until the climax where the film regains its gripping edge and I became swept up in the thrilling, haunting suspense of it all.
The film has an amazing colour palette and utilizes amazing establishing shots of the beautiful Cambodia and the much closer to home Sydney. The three main actors all worthy leads, their incredible performances taking the film to the next level. Teresa Palmer who was last seen in the action-packed Hollywood film “I Am Number Four”, truly does a good job in playing such a directly opposed subtle more emotional character.
The film also showcased Felicity Price’s talent as her character undergoes emotional stress and ever growing anger. As Dave, Joel Edgerton carries the suspense of the film; truly uneasily arresting and difficult to read, completely consumed by anxiety and paranoia.
“Wish You Were Here” is a dramatic mystery, full of suspense. Whilst it would not be the film to watch to lift your spirits after a bad day or probably not the best movie to watch directly before heading on an overseas trip; it is a captivating thriller and definitely one of the best Australian films I have seen in a very long time. I would give the film a solid 8 and a half stars, definitely a film I would willingly watch again.