I really wanted to love this film. I wanted to be able to sing its praise and suggest everyone go and see it. Why? Because it’s Australian. It felt like it was going to hit that great middle ground of not being a Yank impersonator (Any Questions For Ben) or being horrifyingly depressing (Last Ride… oh jesus!). But actually being a compelling film that is true to Australian life. It focuses on two couples from Sydney who travel to Cambodia together on a holiday, only three return. Slowly what really happen on the trip starts to unravel.
This film definitely wasn’t bad. It was worth seeing and I quite liked it. But something just rubbed me up the wrong way. Something was off about the two female characters, Alice and Steph. At first I thought it was bad acting but then I realised: their characters were paper thin! Teresa Palmer got to play the ‘Tarty little sister’ while Felicity Price is the ‘Good Wife and Mother’. Sure, they react to the situations around them but there wasn’t enough complexity to their characters to make these reactions very interesting. This felt like such a pity since it’s rare to have a female central protagonist in Australian films. In fact, I haven’t encountered an interesting female protagonist in a film for a while now. This article from the AV Club sums the situation up well.
Also- If you happen to see this film at a Palace Cinema you’ll notice that they are playing a short film after the end credits. This is such a great idea and could have been a really fantastic opportunity for short filmmakers! What a pity it was wasted on ‘The Palace’ by Anthony Maras. This film was brutally violent, felt exploitative to it’s content and also just wasn’t very good. If you do go and see Wish You Were Here, which is still worth a watch despite it’s boring lead ladies, just make sure you leave during the end credits.