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Wish You Were Here
DVD disk
Sep 24, 2013 By: JimmyO
Wish You Were Here order download
Director:
Kieran Darcy-Smith

Actors:
Joel Edgerton
Theresa Palmer
Anthony Starr
Felicity Price

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After four friends party it up on a Cambodian holiday, only three of them return. Soon it becomes clear that not everybody is telling the truth as to what happened on their final drunken night of debauchery.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The biggest gripe I have with WISH YOU WERE HERE is simple; this was a poorly marketed film. The trailer and even the DVD cover make it look like a tense thriller with twists and turns. Yet the mystery and dramatic elements are far more personal and focus on Alice and Dave Flannery (Felicity Price and Joel Edgerton), a married couple with two children and one on the way. They, along with Alices sister Steph McKinney (Teresa Palmer), throw caution to the wind on a wild holiday. And while it is a guy that Steph met named Jeremy King (Antony Starr) who disappears, the story feels more akin to character driven melodrama as opposed to a taut and suspenseful thriller.

During the first part of the film there are brief glimpses of their wild night in paradise. The four people connect, get high and party it up, and it is all too clear that one of them knows exactly what happened to Jeremy. The authorities get involved, but it is the family dynamic that creates most of the tension. With a possible affair and a betrayal or two, we dont get a real sense of what exactly happened far away in a strange land until very near the end. Until then we see a very personal story with only a hint or two that something very tragic may have happened. In a way, it works.

With a script written by director Kieran Darcy-Smith and Felicity Price (his real life spouse) this Australian made feature doesnt quite succeed as the thriller the advertising suggests it is. When paranoia sets in for one of the characters, it almost feels like an afterthought. Or it is simply a reminder to the audience that something worse than betrayal may have happened. Thankfully however, when the final reveal comes along it works much better than I had expected. Its a shame while watching the film I began to drift occasionally trying to figure out if there was a twist or not and exactly how it would get there.

Even if the excitement level is hardly thrilling, there is something worth investing in and that is the cast. Palmer, Edgerton, Price and Starr - even with his short screen time are able to give a little life to the characters and their very serious dilemma. You could have easily taken out the missing tourist part and just had an interesting romantic drama and been fine thanks to this talented cast. I especially found the relationship between Edgerton and Price engaging enough to want to stick around until the final frame.
THE EXTRAS
The special features are suitable for this type of smaller release. They include an engaging Making-of Featurette (35:49). It helps that Price and Darcy-Smith make such a charming couple when they talk about working together on the film.

There are a number of interviews with the cast and crew including Alex Holmes (Production Designer), Angie Fielder (Producer), Jules OLoughlin (Director of Photography), Kieran Darcy-Smith (Writer/Director), Jason Ballantine (Editor), Antony Starr, Joel Edgerton, Felicity Price and Teresa Palmer. The interviews run somewhere between five to fifteen minutes depending on the talent, and of course they talk about how much they love the script and all that good stuff. Definitely worth a look if you are a fan of these fine folks.

Finally, we have the Theatrical Trailer which again, makes this out to look a whole lot more intense than it actually is.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
WISH YOU WERE HERE is an enjoyable drama with good performances that happens to be a little light when it comes to the mystery element. Even if the thriller aspect isnt terribly strong, the well-executed ending mostly makes up for it.
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