Lake Mungo

Lake Mungo ★★★★½

This is not a horror, although it is very creepy. It is not about grief, although that is explored through the characters who populate the film. It isn't even about secrets, although there are plenty. It is about Alice, although she is the vacuum, the absence, at the heart of the film. The saddest thing is not that no-one had any idea who she was, it is that even by the end of the film we (and they) are none the wiser.

At the core of every gripping news story about a missing or murdered girl there is the same absence: the girl herself. No-one really cares who she was. We want the juicy details. We want secrets to be revealed. We want to hear what people have to say. And everyone has their own story to tell, their own agenda. This well put-together film does an expert job of peeling back those layers, without ever getting to the core. Each character is wrapped up only in their own version of the 'story', made most evident in the actions of Alice's brother, who is so concerned with creating his own story, he quite literally fails to see her.
The hints about the state of the relationships between the women in the family are extremely revealing and painful to watch. Alice had been erased by those around her before she ever died. "She's gone" says her mother. But she was never even there.

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