Wish You Were Here takes an interesting and yet simple plot and overextends itself with too many underdeveloped subplots.
Wish You Were Here
Kieran Darcy-Smith makes his feature film debut with his Australian indie drama Wish You Were Here, which first premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film’s non-linear narrative style is slow to reveal itself of the mysteries behind it almost to a fault. There are some intriguing pieces of the story but the film allows too much time to pass for how little of an impact the final punch was. Having said that, Wish You Were Here is one of the most beautifully shot indie films of the year. Darcy-Smith show promise and is a director that you may want to remember in the future.
The film begins as a group of two couples are enjoying themselves for a week in Cambodia during a holiday stay. We see them living it up on the beaches and marvel the local food customs but most of all, we see them dancing and partying. While at a dance club we see them heavily drinking, smoking and consuming illegal drugs. It is not until later when they return back home that all the problems are exposed.
You can see it in the emotions of husband and wife Alice (Felicity Price) and Dave (Joel Edgerton) Flannery upon their return. The original idea for even going on the trip was to get away from their busy lifestyle ahead of their expected third child but they came back with more stress than they left with. One of the friends they went on vacation with went missing on their last day there and never made it back. This is only the beginning of what went wrong on the vacation. There is a strong sense that there is more going on than what they are letting on.
To add more fuel to the fire, Dave has a secret that he has not told his wife about yet. When his wife does find out, it has the potential to rupture their relationship. As you may expect, all of these conundrums are connected with one another as it ultimately becomes much more than just a missing person case. The film takes it’s time to bring out into the open what really went on during that holiday getaway.
Wish You Were Here is simply gorgeous to look at. From the very opening sequence to the final act, the film does a great job of utilizing cinematography. Shot from postcard worthy locations around Cambodia and Sydney, the beauty from these places serve as a sharp contrast to the unsettling story that unfolds.
Wish You Were Here takes an interesting and yet simple plot and overextends itself with too many underdeveloped subplots. These subplots get in the way for the main plot to as effective as it could have been. This leads to an ending that is not predictable but is so underwhelming that what you thought might happen ends up being more interesting than what actually does. Wish You Were Here had all the right elements but did not have the execution down.