Keith Adams Jr.’s review published on Letterboxd:
I had to get a moment to process this film before I reviewed it and now that I have, it’s time to give my thoughts on The Babadook director Jennifer Kent’s gripping, visceral and supremely bleak revenge thriller. In 1821, young Irish convict Clare Carroll (Aisling Franciosi) has been broken down after the sadistic Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin) and his men break into her quarters, shoot and kill her husband Aidan (Michael Sheasby), kill her infant child and proceed to rape her and leave her to die. Now, she wants revenge and she travels through the harsh and unforgiving Tasmanian land with the help of Aboriginal tracker Billy (Baykali Gananbarr) and it’ll be a mission of vengeance where the journey will be a treacherous one. This isn’t a feel-good kind of movie, this is a very downtrodden, dark and bittersweet revenge story where the act of revenge itself is ultimately a futile and unfulfilled act that leads to nothing and that’s kind of the takeaway: when you commit an vengeful act, are you truly satisfied with the results or was it all for nothing at the end? Franciosi gives a gripping and devastating performance while Claflin is a villain that you immediately hate and hope to see get what’s coming to him. He is definitely a long way from the charming and heroic Finnick Odair from the Hunger Games franchise. Is The Nightingale a movie to make you feel good? No way. Is it a must-watch? Definitely....if you can handle the darkness.
CONTENT WARNING: this film contains scenes of sexual assault and violence towards infants that may be unsettling and/or triggering for some viewers. Viewers might wish to exercise caution in the event that they decide to view this film.