• James Rutherford

'The Nightingale': A Vicious and Palpable Tale of Revenge from 1800's-Era Colonial Tasmania


Movie poster for The Nightingale (2018)

The Nightingale (2018) is a vicious Australian drama-thriller starring Aisling Franciosi as Clare Carroll, an Irish convict inhabiting a penal colony in Tasmania circa 1825. Forced into servitude to a British regiment commanded by Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin), Clare earns her titular nickname by serving the men their nightly spirits while charming them with her singing voice.


Desperate to flee the colony with her husband Aidan (Michael Sheasby) and infant daughter Bridget, Clare appeals to Hawkins for freedom—only to be horribly abused for her perceived audacity. After Hawkins' men attack Clare's family in an act of searing brutality, she's left blinded with rage and compulsion for revenge—recruiting an Aboriginal tracker named Billy (Baykali Ganambarr) on her crusade. Their campaign to hunt down Hawkins and his accomplices in the rugged Tasmanian wilderness becomes one of personal reckoning and abject ferocity.


Written and directed by Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), The Nightingale is an exquisitely-crafted yet ardently savage tale of retribution. Franciosi fills the screen with her searing fury, blinded by her wrath, yet ultimately counterbalanced with a judicious sense of empathy. Kudos to Ganambarr as well, who delivers an impassioned portrayal of a young aborigine incensed by myriad historical abuses against his people. The two help to deliver a truly indelible viewing experience—one that will stay with you long after the final credits have rolled.

 

Watch the trailer: