Film review: WISH YOU WERE HERE, from Built For Speed

Wish You Were Here is a new Australian mystery thriller that has nothing to do with the classic Pink Floyd album of the same name.

Being a contemporary Australian film it of course stars Joel Edgerton as a stressed bogan family man and has a fragmented narrative structure.  The film jumps back and forth through time, feeding the audience slivers of information which is meant to enhance the mystery surrounding the characters but this just deprives the film of momentum and becomes annoying.

Despite this, the story at the core of this film is still an intriguing one.  Two thirty-something couples Dave and Alice Flannery (Joel Edgerton and Felicity Price) and Steph McKinney and Jeremy King (Teresa Palmer and Antony Starr) holidaying (yes) in Cambodia awake after a particularly intense rave party to discover that Jeremy is missing.  The film depicts the devastating impact this has on the other three and their families when they return to Australia.  Through flashbacks the film hints at what might have happened to Jeremy in Cambodia.

While the film occasionally generates a menacing atmosphere with its angular visual style and use of music (from Tim Rogers), it’s surprisingly uninvolving.  This is partly becomes of the choppy narrative but also because of lethargic pacing and a pedestrian performance from Edgerton who occupies most of the screen time.

We spend most of the film waiting for something to happen and the various domestic disputes and hints at extra marital affairs only seem like annoying distractions from the central mystery of Jeremy’s fate.

Revelations toward the end of the film up the intensity and briefly elicit more compelling performances from the cast, particularly Edgerton but it’s not enough to save this film from being a mediocre and slightly pretentious disappointment.


Director:  Kieran Darcy-Smith

Released: 26 April 2012

Running time:  89 mins.

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