The Nightingale Trailer: Dark Drama from The Babadook’s Jennifer Kent

Against an early-19th century colonial Australia backdrop, director Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale showcases a harrowing tale of revenge.

The Nightingale poster, Aisling Franciosi; IFC Films

The Nightingale is Jennifer Kent’s anticipated written/directorial follow-up to her 2014 feature debut, The Babadook, a surprisingly-symbolic horror offering that uses the conventionally frightening specter of a top-hat-touting monster for a rather unconventional depiction of a maternal element of the human condition.

The film, which debuted at the Venice International Film Festival back in September 2018, and was reviewed right here on Den of Geek back in February after its Sundance screening, will finally see a proper release this summer, serving as a prospective buzz-generating vehicle for its star, Italian actress Aisling Franciosi, who amongst notable TV runs, is best known from her Game of Thrones flashback role as Westeros’ Helen of Troy herself, Lyanna Stark.

The Nightingale Trailer

The official trailer for The Nightingale has arrived.

The Nightingale Release Date

The Nightingale is scheduled for a wide release on August 2.

The Nightingale Details

Just as Kent utilized the Babadook as a monstrous allegory for the insidious ambivalence of postpartum depression and other mental health maladies, the historical backdrop of The Nightingale simultaneously showcases a different kind of horror in the form of an infuriatingly ugly series of offenses dealt to the protagonist, as well as a nuanced dynamic between its main characters that makes a monster out of the uglier side of human nature.  

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As the (rather lengthy) official synopsis, from distributor IFC Films, for The Nightingale reads:

THE NIGHTINGALE is a meditation on the consequences of violence and the price of seeking vengeance. Set during the colonization of Australia in 1825, the film follows Clare (AISLING FRANCIOSI), a 21-year-old Irish convict. Having served her 7-year sentence, she is desperate to be free of her abusive master, Lieutenant Hawkins (SAM CLAFLIN) who refuses to release her from his charge. Clare’s husband Aidan (MICHAEL SHEASBY) retaliates and she becomes the victim of a harrowing crime at the hands of the lieutenant and his cronies. When British authorities fail to deliver justice, Clare decides to pursue Hawkins, who leaves his post suddenly to secure a captaincy up north. Unable to find compatriots for her journey, she is forced to enlist the help of a young Aboriginal tracker Billy (BAYKALI GANAMBARR) who grudgingly takes her through the rugged wilderness to track down Hawkins. The terrain and the prevailing hostilities are frightening, as fighting between the original inhabitants of the land and its colonizers plays out in what is now known as ‘The Black War.’ Clare and Billy are hostile towards each other from the outset, both suffering their own traumas and mutual distrust, but as their journey leads them deeper into the wilderness, they must learn to find empathy for one another, while weighing the true cost of revenge.

The main cast consists of Aisling Franciosi (Genius, The Fall), Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games sequels, Me Before You), Damon Herriman (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Justified), Michael Sheasby (Hacksaw Ridge, A Place to Call Home), Ewen Leslie (Peter Rabbit, Fighting Season) and newcomer Baykali Ganambarr.

Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.