A Good Wife

A Good Wife ★★★

There are few video tapes scarier than that demon-unleashing one in Ringu but in the real world I reckon Serbian wife and mother, Milena, uncovers one that comes pretty close. Cleaning one day she decides to play a tape which she finds in her bedroom chest of drawers to find wartime images of her husband, Vlada, in which he appears to be executing unarmed civilians. Enter demons.

A Good Wife is a perceptive take on post civil war fallout. Milena’s predicament is a chamber encapsulation of the trust-rebuilding issues tearing Serbia apart. To make matters more pressing, Milena and Vlada’s artist daughter is at the vanguard of citizens calling for punishment for those soldiers who were responsible for the violent recriminations during the civil war.

Accomplished Serbian actress Mirjana Karanović, takes on double duty for her first film as director and writer and her long history in front of the camera has translated to near flawless performances from her entire cast. They navigate the tricky moral territory with impressive nuance. If anything, it would have been interesting to see them go deeper into the darkness but Karanović remains tightly focused on the domestic situation.

So, though not quite as compelling the subject matter promises, A Good Wife is an evocative take on a very sticky socio-political environment. An impressive directorial debut.