Brightwood (2022) – Film Review

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Brightwood Film Review

Director: Dane Elcar
Cast: Dana Berger, Max Woertendyke
Certificate: 15

By Roger Crow

An estranged couple are out jogging in a sun-dappled park. In the centre is a lake with a No Swimming sign, and there’s an old waste bin. That aside, everything looks the same as (Nicole Kidman/Amy Adams lookalike) Jen is fuming with her fella, Dan.

Brightwood Film Review CoverWhile he struggles to keep up, she’s keen to keep her distance from him as they come to terms with the fact their relationship is on the rocks.

“Maddening touches”

Some might say the park is a metaphor for their relationship; a seemingly endless loop of sameness. But what is that weird sound they both experience and what is the relevance of those headphones which keep appearing?

And who is that shadowy figure in a hoodie on the horizon? And will we ever get an answer to all of the above?

Admittedly it takes a while for Brightwood to get going, but as a two-hander, Dana Berger and Max Woertendyke do a great job as that couple. To reveal too much would be unfair, and while there are some maddening touches, for the most part this is compelling stuff reminiscent of a similar thriller set on a desert highway, The Fearway, and Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige.

There are flashes of humour before the finale turns into an inevitably bleak denouement which should appeal to fans of early eighties video nasties.

Brightwood Film Review

“Inspired”

The debut feature for director Dane Elcar (whose dad Dana Elcar propped up films such as The Sting, 2010 and countless TV police sagas), he is also the screenwriter and cinematographer who makes the most of an obviously limited budget.

I’m not surprised it was a feature inspired by a short film – Elcar’s 20-minute The Pond was made in 2018. This could have been a half-hour episode of Black Mirror, and though the 80-plus minute run time is fair enough, like the feuding couple, there is a Elcar should have called it a day earlier.

Cast8
Script7
Cinematography8
Score7
Direction7
Editing8
Brightwood is no digital platforms now
7.5
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