Movie Review: 'Wish You Were Here' -- 3.5 stars
Wish You Were Here
Directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith
Starring Felicity Price, Joel Edgerton, Teresa Palmer
Playing at the Village East
Flashbacks and fractured chronologies are such filmmaking staples that it's easy to forget how much they can add to a movie when they're smartly interwoven. The new mystery "Wish You Were Here" depends on frequent digressions from a fateful Cambodian vacation, and is deeper and richer for them.
Alice (Felicity Price) and Dave (Joel Edgerton), a married Sydney couple, have returned home from Southeast Asia, where they went sightseeing and partied with Alice's sister Steph (Teresa Palmer) and her new boyfriend Jeremy (Antony Starr).
Jeremy has gone missing, however, and while Alice tries to resume her everyday life as a teacher and mother to their two young kids, Dave is stricken with unease.
To reveal more would rob the movie of its power, which manifests in its intricate unpacking of what exactly went on in Cambodia. Smartly edited, with scenes from the trip directly commenting on Alice and Dave's present strife, the film dynamically explores the ripple effects of the central trauma.
Director Kieran Darcy-Smith, who co-wrote the screenplay with Price, effortlessly transitions from quiet personal moments in the family's Sydney home to bacchanalia on a Cambodian beach. An unhappy, divisive present bleeds into a past that starts sunny and progressively darkens.
The cumulative effect is an old-fashioned, intricate mystery that keeps you in perpetual suspense, developing its plot and characters through the smart incorporation of basic cinematic tools.