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Daughter, The


Stars: Paul Schneider, Odessa Young, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Miranda Otto, Ewen Leslie, Anna Torv

Director: Simon Stone

This Australian revamp of The Wild Duck dispenses with all the subtleties and sexual frissons of Ibsen's original, but does retain all its Nordic gloom and doom, with dim photography and lots of shots of swaying pines.

Christian (Schneider), who turns out to be the villain of the piece, returns from America to his family home for the re-marriage of his morose father Henry (Rush, as mournful as a crumpled bloodhound) to his housekeeper (Torv).

It's an inauspicious time: Henry's timber mill, which has been the lifeblood of the town, is closing down. Among those losing their jobs is Christian's childhood friend Oliver (Leslie), whose wife (Otto) hides a dark secret which Christian, for reasons known only to himself, is about to expose, affecting the lives of Oliver's daughter Hedvig (Young) and his father (Neill), who went to jail for his part in Henry's embezzlement swindle (which Henry escaped) and now runs a little animal sanctuary, to which a wild duck, shot and wounded by Henry, is the latest arrival.

There's an awful lot of full-voltage acting here, but the dialogue, written by the director, is pawky at best, often verging on the banal and leaving the actors little chance to insert light and shade into their performances.

David Quinlan

Australia 2015. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Colour (unspecified).
94 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 22 May 2016