Cordero Meznarich’s review published on Letterboxd:
The Nightingale is most certainly not a film for everybody, but the few who can get through a rough (brutal) first act will find an intricately paced tale of bitter revenge.
Jennifer Kent’s sophomore feature does a lot more for me than The Babadook, although it is begging for another viewing. Even the few horror sequences left me with a deeper impression and more of a sense of fear. Dark imagery captures the mood consistently, especially with the nights moon. The location and sets make the narrative feel realistic. I think this has one of the scariest scenes this year.
Great writing, very embracive of it’s time. Quick and neatly paced. Brutal and vividly wicked. Unpredictable, a revenge tale like no other. It can be brutal and it can be particularly racial. The villain is by the far the most inherently evil person to be on screen this year. Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson included. Although I imagine the ending won’t be what some are expecting I found it to be a perfect way to wrap up this brutal tale.
The acting is fantastic. Sometimes it feels even too hauntingly real. Love The Nightingale and Blackbird, up there with my favorite unlikely duo all year. Claire had a great accents and voice. Her singing sequences are some standout performances. Billy is one of my favorite characters all year, I love the way he conveys so much emotion in so few of words. He gets you to care about him and love him so early on. That villain is pretty solid too. Shit, everybody was pretty good and believable here. It kept the entire atmosphere so vibrant. The entire cast deserves that recognition.
The gore and blood effects are horrifically memorable. I loved every bloody second of it when it happened. (Always appreciate the practical effects)
The scope of sound is amazing in this piece. It brings the setting to life and adds to a lot of tension and terror in the story. Easily among the best fields of sound in the industry this year! Great stuff!
Lack of score makes the silences stand out. When the nightingale sings it is all the type of music this needs. When other score work does come in it stands out magnificent and hauntingly.
Overall I think The Nightingale might be the years deliciously violent film, with a lot hidden behind its gothic imagery.