Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
A Cry in the Dark (1988)

At the heart of "A Cry in the Dark" lies a true story so incredible that to have it made into a film could have tempted a sensational outcome of the most ridiculous proportions.

A camping trip to Australia's Ayers Rock turns to utter disaster for the Chamberlain family as their sleeping baby is snatched from their tent. Mother, Lindy Chamberlain (Streep) catches a glimpse of a Dingo emerging and running off from the tent. Her conclusion is that the animal has made off with, and killed her child. No trace of the infant is found except for a bloodied and shredded romper suit.

What seems to upset the Australian public the most, is the seeming lack of distress on the part of the Chamberlains. Their TV and radio appearances are interpreted as stunts for the 'Seventh Day Adventist' movement, the faith that gives them their strength in this crisis. The media sense a story and are relentless in trying to uncover a building belief that the Chamberlains killed their daughter. After two years of harassment, speculation and investigation, Lindy is charged with murder and Neville (Neill), as an accessory.

Both Meryl Streep and Sam Neill put in convincing and consistent performances in roles that appear unsympathetic, and don't offer the typical ingredients that can allow actors to showcase their caring and emotional personas. Director Fred Schepisi cleverly steers us through a story that spans over seven years, interjecting crucial moments with 'opinions' of the public and media. Malicious rumours weave and distort into truths and within time the Chamberlains appear to be the only sane people in a tale with a shocking twist.

End Credits

Director: Fred Schepisi

Writer: Robert Casswell, Fred Schepisi

Stars: Meryl Streep, Sam Neill, Bruce Myles, Charles Tingwall, Nick Tate

Genre: Drama

Length: 117 minutes

Cinema: 1988

VHS: 10 January 1994

Country: Australia/USA

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