This is a well-crafted film that, for some reason, left me cold.
Wish You Were Here focuses on two couples having been on holiday in Cambodia, and the subsequent fallout when they return to Australia with one of their group ‘missing’ without an immediately discernible reason. The story is centred around the trio, the destructiveness of secret knowledge, and the bonds and bondage of relationships.
The story unfolds at a studied pace; each moment and piece of the puzzle is treated with equal importance, regardless of how insignificant or revelatory it seems at the time. Even the climax of the film has the same deliberate tempo, leaving the audience to experience the highs and lows of the characters as they happen in their lives and memories; catharsis here is not some grand, sweeping, moral statement—it is quite possibly the hollowest moment in the story.
I adore Felicity Price (having had a soft spot for her since I first saw her on Farscape), Joel Edgerton has done well for himself, and it’s nice to see Teresa Palmer again, but their characters here left me unsatisfied. I was unsympathetic, unpitying, detached, and cold; I felt nothing for these people. The satisfaction of seeing all the pieces of the puzzle fit together was clinical, and void of any emotional content. And that left me uncertain of the movie as a whole. There are good things about Wish You Were Here. I enjoyed the inexorable pace, the transitions between here-and-now and then-and-there are fluid and seamless, the immediacy of the visuals creates the sense of a waking nightmare, and the actors put in terrific performances.
I really did want to love this movie. The trailer looked great, the presence of Price and Edgerton looked promising, and the story intriguing. I even put off writing a review for a few days in the hope I would find something more, but I just couldn’t connect with it on a personal level.
Overall? 6 out of 10.
Recommendation? The visuals and performances make this worth it…as long as you don’t mind the missing emotional connection.
Trailer: Official trailer.
Reviews: Hit Fix, The Vine, Coming Soon.
Director: Kieran Darcy-Smith
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Felicity Price, Teresa Palmer, Antony Star.
Genre: Drama, Mystery