10 May 2012 | dandelionfields
Wish You Were Here is a directorial debut for actor Kieran Darcy-Smith and written by Darcy-Smith and his wife Felicity Price. The premise of the movie is promising: four Australian friends are enjoying a holiday in Cambodia, but one goes missing after a particularly "heavy" night of partying. The movie is superbly shot and mostly well acted, but I was nevertheless disappointed.
We see the holiday firstly as a 10 minute sequence which moved too rapidly for me. As the movie progresses the holiday is shown in beautiful flashbacks, which give us insight into the characters as well as depicting some of the events that took place. When husband and wife, Dave and Alice (Joel Edgerton and Felicity Price) return to Sydney, they leave Alice's sister, Steph (Teresa Palmer), to try to find out what happened to her boyfriend, Jeremy (Antony Starr). Dave is uneasy and troubled, and even more so when Steph arrives home and the first of many secrets is uncovered.
Joel Edgerton is marvellous as a man wracked with guilt and tormented by secrets and lies he dare not reveal. Teresa Palmer is also very good, but unfortunately her part is underwritten. I found that I became a bit bored with Felicity Price's character, Alice, especially when we start to see more and more of her and less of Dave. About half way through, the movie seemed to become stuck, and I was wanting the original storyline to develop and to give answers to the mystery. When truth is finally revealed, it is terrifying, but it feels anti-climactic, because we've had to wait too long.
I found it hard to sweep my expectations aside and see the movie as the writers/director intended it to be: a story about the effect on family life when one spouse hides a dark truth from their partner. I was expecting more of a thriller, and even as I tried to accept the way the plot unfolded, I still found it disappointing. At certain times I felt sympathy for the characters and I felt their pain; but there were scenes where the magnitude of emotions that the characters were experiencing was not adequately conveyed, (for example, the ending). Obviously, Wish You Were Here was not as engrossing for me as it was for others, but I wish it had been.