Four friends lose themselves in a carefree South-East Asian holiday. Only three come back. Dave and Alice return home to their young family desperate for answers about Jeremy’s mysterious disappearance. When Alice’s sister Steph returns not long after, a nasty secret is revealed about the night her boyfriend went missing. But it is only the first of many. Who amongst them knows what happened on that fateful night when they were dancing under a full moon in Cambodia?
User Reviews: Wish You Were Here starts with a barrage of sights and sounds, as married couple Dave and his pregnant wife Alice (Joel Edgerton and Felicity Price), Alice’s younger sister Steph (Teresa Palmer) and new boyfriend Jeremy (Antony Starr) holiday in Cambodia. All too quickly Dave and Alice have returned to Sydney, and we find out that Jeremy is missing after a drug fuelled night. As Steph returns home, questions are asked and secrets revealed as the trio try to cope with what happened.
I was intrigued as to where the movie was headed, but at around the 50 minute mark I was starting to lose patience, waiting for it to get to a point. When it finally got to that point, although shocking, I almost didn’t even care what had really happened. And the final moments felt rushed and glossed over.
We don’t get to see nearly enough of Edgerton or Palmer, both of whom have exceptional talent. Edgerton really embraces the character of Dave who is hiding a dark secret and it’s slowly tearing him apart. Palmer doesn’t get the chance to shine as her character is left alone to suffer. Considering it was Steph’s boyfriend who disappeared, it would have been better to see more from her point of view. Price floats through with the same bored expression as a self absorbed wife. Starr is likable and very believable, but again we don’t get to see him enough.
Unfortunately director Kieran Darcy-Smith’s first feature doesn’t know what it wants to be, and perhaps tries to be a little too clever for it’s own good. I’ll admit that the stunning trailer with the hypnotic music was what captivated me and gave me high hopes for Wish You Were Here, but I also feel that the trailer gives a different impression of what the movie ends up being about. It starts out as a mystery, but about half way through Alice becomes the main character and the movie takes a left turn into a narrative about a marriage breakdown from only one person’s point of view.
The locations in both Sydney and abroad have been beautifully shot. The scenes between past and present flow seamlessly. Besides the opening of the movie, the fateful holiday is shown only through minor flashbacks, which I think are the highlight.
Australian movies certainly have the ability to pull you in and not let you go. But it’s frustrating when you know a movie has the potential to move you and engage you, and it fails to do so. This should have been a gripping dramatic thriller, but sadly there are no thrills to be had here.