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Wish You Were Here

Year: 2012
Production Co: Aquarius Films
Director: Kieran Darcy-Smith
Writer: Kieran Darcy-Smith/Felicity Price
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Felicity Price, Teresa Palmer, Antony Starr

This film is a close cousin to the Blue Tongue group's ace thriller The Square, another Hitchcockian movie that peels layers of information back a bit at a time as we gradually learn what the characters know until the conclusion, where you finally realise why everyone's so shattered.

It's a bit more of an emotional drama than The Square, which had B movie noir trappings (that's not a criticism, by the way) so it's not quite as thrilling or effective. There's a lot more family drama dynamics and a lot less direct plot twisting, but any Australian film that isn't trying to be a Tourism Australia ad is a good thing.

Four friends travel to Cambodia for a holiday, married couple Alice (Price) and Dave (Edgerton), and Alice's sister Steph (Palmer) with her businessman beau Jeremy (Starr). We learn about the holiday in flashbacks, knowing only that not everyone's returned from Cambodia, Jeremy having gone missing.

Dave, Alice and Steph are miserable and falling apart as they try to deal with Jeremy's disappearance, and as life is falling in a heap at home, we learn more about what went on overseas on a seemingly harmless night of ecstasy at a dance party on the beach.

Dave has secrets about the night that are tearing him to pieces, and when we finally see what happened, it's a little more mundane than you imagine but no less effective at explaining the rest of the film.

I've always wondered why it took Edgerton this long to arrive at world attention after being in a Star Wars film (over ten years ago now), and Palmer is as gorgeous as always. The rest of the cast and the movie itself can be a little dour and The Square is still better, but it doesn't make it too hard to support your local film industry.

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