Young actors Samara Weaving and Sara West are electric in this highly charged Australian thriller.
Written and developed by Fin Edquist, Bad Girl manages to dazzle amidst a mire of confronting and violent themes, forging an unforgettable cinematic experience in the process.
The first thing you notice is the film is beautiful, drawing on the understated sparseness of its West Australian setting. The juxtaposition of a perfectly designed glass house, encasing an imperfectly designed family, clashes with the uncontrollable forces that surround them. The protagonist’s angst with this oddity is key to the film’s plot as each character attempts to define themselves as something they are not – whether it’s a perfect family, a bad girl, or ultimately a good one.
Genre-wise, the film shapes into an edge-gripping thriller; though you wouldn’t guess it from the start. The plot unfolds organically, forgoing clunky exposition in favour of world craft, where pieces of information drop from the crevasses of its characterisation. It makes for a journey that’s highly rewarding and, at times, downright harrowing.
The audience starts at the centre of a labyrinth, and as our protagonist, Amy Anderson (West), attempts to find her way out, so do we. Questions of intent, origin, and destination form each corner as the dynamic relationship between Amy and Chloe (Weaving) unfolds.
Ultimately, Bad Girl is a film about self-discovery and reinvention in a world where nobody is who they seem, or who they want to be. It’s about adolescence and excess, and the danger of charisma.
Fin Edquist takes incredibly poignant themes and dramatises them to the point of near-vulgar excess. Weaving and West are deeply compelling illustrators of this, as each charged interaction only lends the drama more humanity and impact.
Combined with Gavin Smith’s sharply cut cinematography, and an otherworldly, morbid score by Warren Ellis, Bad Girl is a brilliant thing to witness.