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A Cry in the Dark
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  • Meryl Rocks!
    A sign of how convincing Meryl Streep was as Lindy is that Aussies who mock Lindy's "The dingo's got my baby" base it on the line from the film.

    The twentieth anniversary of the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain has just passed and the Chamberlain's separately (they are separated now and both remarried) fight for compensation from the Northern Territory Government. Hence the films and Schepsi's ulitmate success is in that it exists as a time capsule to early 80's terra australis. Evil Angels is as relevant today as it was when released.

    Only in her portrayal of Karen Silkwood does Streep bring the same rawness to a role as she does here.

    5/5...more info

  • Seems everyone has an opinion
    ...The movie does a credible job of showing how modern societyoften can't separate fact from fiction. The same issue arose in the OJSimpson case, when the story becomes more of an issue than the facts and the public end up having a trial by media. It causes you to question the role the media plays in cases like this. Watch this as a means of understanding how society can fail, not as a means to attack Australians.

    The acting is what makes this movie work. Streep can claim to be the modern master and this is certainly one of her finest performances. Neill however is also excellent, showing an understanding of the relationship the family had, as husband and wife and as parent to the children. All in all very entertaining. When it finishes and your asking yourself "How?" remember there are a lot of other stories just like this... END...more info

  • A Cry in the Dark or Evil Angels
    This has to be one of the most heart wrenching films I have ever seen.

    This is the opposite of those movies that make you feel good about humanity and the world we live in ... This incredible true story makes you wonder how we call this civilization or justice.

    Meryl Streep is tremendous as Mrs. Chamberlain, wife to a pastor husband, who experiences tragedy early on in the film. But the film focuses more on the tragedy that later befalls their lives as compassion and humanity are trampled by ignorance, rumor, hatred, and stubbornness.

    Their story is amazing. It is sad and it makes you cry. And it will haunt you for some time. I believe there are few things scarier than being innocent and yet being unable to prove it because others believe in your guilt so diligently and blindly. Like Hitchcock's The Wrong Man, Cry in the Dark will leave its stain upon you, but will also give you hope in the end.

    Highly recommend it is seen, but buy it with caution (some moments are so terribly painful you may not ever want to see them again). ...more info
  • Incredibly moving and thought-provoking
    The fact that this movie is based on a true story makes it all the more disturbing. It is a great character study, and an interesting argument for those in persuausive debates over the justice system. This makes you think twice about condemning a person before getting all the facts. The acting is terrific! You truly feel for Streep and Neill. I just wanted to jump in and fix everything for them!...more info
  • Truth is still stranger than fiction
    Gather three Australians and turn the conversation from footy to the Lindy Chamberlain case. One of you is almost certain to survive the encounter. Although the survivor will almost certainly be only you. Still arousing the highest passions among Australians, the death of baby Azaria Chamberlain and the subsequent jailing of her mother for murder remains the most noted legal and social episode there. Even this film and new evidence has failed to clear the Chamberlain's name, indicative of the bizarre circumstances surrounding Azaria's death. "The dingo took my baby" remains a derisive expression in the Australian lexicon.

    Spellbinding isn't a trite phrase in describing this film, even if you already know the story. Schepisi keeps the focus tight on the Chamberlains and their dilemma. A few departures showing Australian public reaction to the case are vivid and pointed. You are in no doubt as to the feelings engendered. Azaria's loss and the media's role in helping condemn the Chamberlains aren't wasted moments. The motivation behind the police desire to make this a murder instead of a dingo attack is strong. The reason for their intensity isn't clear, but it never was since their treatment of the case was incredibly poor. The inept handling of evidence by the Northern Territory police is only mildly presented during the courtroom scenes.

    As Lindy, Meryl Streep's abilities soared to new heights in this film, as so many here have noted. Her talent for assuming the role, even that of a living person, is nearly matchless. Her dominant role in the film is only natural, since the case and the notoriety focused on her almost exclusively. Sam Neill, as husband Michael, appears almost distracted and confused. The scene in which she accuses him of virtually abandoning her to the law's persecuting assault on them is particularly vivid. Both knew the injustice they were suffering, but Lindy/Meryl was the one who lashed out in retaliation. In Australia, the concept of the "tall poppy," especially assertive women, being "cut down to size" is a cultural icon. Lindy Chamberlain became a "tall poppy" in the courtroom and the inevitable result transpired.

    Other actors aren't given much space to show their talents. Lewis Fitz-Gerald, who gave a fine performance in Breaker Morant, is restrained here. He's no Perry Mason, but the usual lawyer's struggle for justice is reduced here to a visual whimper. Bruce Myles as the prosecutor is suitably sarcastic in his desire to convict. He harbours no doubts about the guilt of the Chamberlains. The conviction seems almost unreal in light of what we see in the film, but it must have been real enough to Lindy Chamberlain, who delivered her fourth child while incarcerated. The irony of the conviction was recently revived with a dingo attack on a young child on Fraser Island, off the Queensland coast....more info

  • Sadly, this is a true story...
    I state the obvious in my title for a reason; for it is films like this that open your eyes to a very ugly side of life and humanity and kind of make you cringe inside at the very thought of belonging to the same species as some of these people. I know that that may sound harsh, but I dare you to watch this harrowing film and not find yourself thinking the same way. I couldn't help but close my eyes in agony during sections of this film, my wife gasping as we took in everything that this poor family had to suffer and endure; to no fault of their own besides maybe a poor decision that should have never been held over their heads.

    `Evil Angels' (or `A Cry in the Dark' here in the states) tells the heartbreaking true story of the Chamberlain family who lost their young daughter while camping in the Australian outback. In the middle of the night a dingo snuck into the tent in which their 10-week old daughter Azaria was sleeping and ran off with her. A search was started yet her body was never found, and when the search was ended the witch-hunt began as the community and the media launched an all out attack on the family, especially the mother Lindy, trying to pin her down for the murder of her child.

    You think that the worst thing that can happen to a parent is to lose a child; but that pain seems minimal when you find yourself accused of taking their life.

    `Evil Angels' recounts the court proceedings that followed the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain as her family is tormented and persecuted and mercilessly attacked by everyone around them. It is true that we live in a world where young children are killed and or abused daily, and many times by a parent, but we also live in a world where you are supposed to remain innocent until proven guilty, and no guilt was every proven against Lindy or Michael Chamberlain, which makes their treatment all the more devastating.

    Sam Neill and Meryl Streep are superb as the crushed souls known as Michael and Lindy Chamberlain. They each dominate their characters, truly sinking into the thoughts and actions and wreckage that comes from this unforeseen situation. Neill embodies Michael with such sympathy and pain; his eyes bleeding with this uncomfortable sadness that scratches at his heart. As the court proceedings carry on and his relationship with Lindy becomes strained you can really see that he is trying to understand what is happening to him, but his mind can't grasp it; or maybe it doesn't want to. Meryl Streep is a revelation as Lindy. Lindy deals with her situation in stark contrast to her husband, forcing herself to find humor in her treatment to deaden the pain; but when she takes the stand and her countenance falls and she starts to crumble you begin to understand that she is not as cold as she appears.

    You realize just how badly she has been damaged by the actions of everyone around her.

    `Evil Angels' is a very hard film to stomach. It reminds me much of `The Crucible' in that both films (true life accounts mind you) expose the cruelty and inhumane ways of humans in desperate situations. Through both films I felt this heat within my veins that boiled into full-fledged anger and frustration in people. Maybe it's because I am a parent, but even if I were not I still feel as if this film would have wounded me so-to-speak. The script, actors, direction and mere tone of the film only help to elevate the inevitable devastation, to such a degree that the ending solace seems more token and less gratifying.

    This film is superb....more info
  • captures the complexity that swept the nation
    i'm a native australian and remember all too well the chamberlain case, which was as big as the o.j. case in australia. this movie, in particular meryl streep's amazing performance, really captures the tension that existed amongst australians as to whether lindy chamberlain was guilty of killing her daughter. forget crocodile dundee or other misconceptions - this shows australians and the australian mentality and readiness to judge people with razor-sharp precision....more info
  • Great performances in a well-made movie.
    Having recently returned from a month in Australia--with a visit to Uluru (formerly Ayer's Rock), I decided to buy the DVD version of this film, having not seen it since it's initial release. It's such a pleasure to watch a movie well-made. Meryl Streep and Sam Neill are both excellent. It's easy to overlook Neill's pitch-perfect turn, since Streep so dominates the film. This, in fact, may be one of Streep's best performances in a career of great performances. Again, she masters an accent, and she is particularly good at capturing the nuances of complicated women, who are not always our typical movie heroines. Lindy Chamberlain is such a character. Her unwillingness to cater to media expectations is, in part, what lands her in the slammer. The tragedy of this true story is not just that a family is destroyed, but--with the passage of time--we realize that we are still perpetrating such media circuses and trial by rumor at an accelerated rate(O.J., the Clinton scandals, the 'Elian' saga, and now Gary Condit). Seeing (and enjoying) the movie again has led me back to the source material, and I'm now reading "Evil Angels" to gleen more detail than the movie could possibly contain. I heartily recommend the movie--although I wish the DVD version contained the "extras" that we've learned to love about the new medium....more info
  • Baby Azaria Saga - The Case that gripped Australia
    I wish to make a commentry on the Lindy Chamberlain Case in general and in particular what it revealed about Australia as a society - There was not one person in the country who did not have a deeply held opinion on what actually happened to the poor baby on that tragic night in 1980. Rearding the film, I thought it was a work of pure genious. Although I had a deeply held interest in the Case before I saw the film, which makes me biased I suppose, there is no doubt in my mind that Meryl Streep gave her best perfromance to date in this film. She played the part of Lindy Chamberalin so well that attention is soon deflected from Meryl onto Lindy very early on into the film. That was certainly the case for me. Meryl melts so well into her study that you actually forget about Meryl altogether and get totally wrapped up in the plight of this tragic woman who faces the double nightmare of not only losing her baby in horrific circumstances but then facing the trauma of being paraded before an accusing nation for two painful years before finally winding up behind bars for a crome she did not commit, which the blood thirsty, bigoted morbid folk of Australia relished no end. Let me assure people who were not in Australia during this extrordinary period - The Chamberalin Case was not viewed simply as a legal matter to be sorted out in the Courts, rather it was a campaign against those who did not fit the conventional stereotype and who were out of line with mainstream thought. Lindy was merely the symbol of such people It could so easily have been a black person, a gay person etc. As a member of a Religion which most Australians viewed as a dangerous Cult and as a woman who did not act in a way most people viewed as "normal", she did not stand a chance form the very start. From the moment those first questions arose - In the film we see the man in the bar straining as he holds a bucket in his mouth which he says carries the same weight as that of a 9 week old baby, to the woman at home watching Lindy's Ayers Rock Interview fuming that "you could crack wallnuts on her face", we know that Lindys ordeal has just begun. In short, Lindy Chamberlain was a dark evil witch to the vast majority of Australian people - Public Opinion had already convicted Lindy long before her Case came to Trial. Without wanting to take the high moral ground, it is a fact that I was one of the few who believed and continued to believe that Lindy and Michael Chamberalin were in fact victims of tragic ctrcumstances, tormented because of a nations intolerence to minority groups. The Film got all the ingredients that made the Dingo Baby Case truly the Trial of the 20th Century . What I loved about the film was the major emphisis it placed on the gossiping populace in the Cafes, Pubs Tennis Clubs etc. - detatched people who were not known to the two central characters in the film but who, by their opinions and views, influenced the Trial verdict to a degree never witnessed in another Trial before or since in any other country. The focus on Lindy's hairstyle, "those dresses" and the star sign of her Unborn baby, were commented upon and analysed Coast to Coast, Perth to Sydney, Darwin to Adelaide - everyone had something to say about a certain Lindy Chamberlain. The whole sage reached unprecentented heights in 1982 - the year Lindy had her 'official' Trial and one had to be exceptionally brave to defend a person who by this time was far and away the most hated woman in the Country. The Film captures this crucial aspect of the saga perfectly and because of this and also of course because of the powerful performances of Streep and Neill, I give the film full marks. Finally, just a few facts for those who still doubt Lindy's innocence (a survey in May 1998 revealed that a majority of Australians still believe Lindy murdered her baby! ) : 1 - It was impossible for Lindy to have killed her baby and covered it up in such a short period of time. Fellow Campers who had not previously met the Chamberalins gave evidence that Lindy was absent from the Barbecue Area for just 10 minutes! She left the Barbecue area with Azaria and her 6 year old Son Aiden to put Azaria to Bed in the Family Tent. Its incredible to believe what she was supposed to have done in this time - Put tracksuit pance over her dress,Brought Azaria to the front seat of Family car, slit her throat, cleaned up the Car, placed the body of Azaria in the Camera Bag (! ), changed back into her dress, made Dingo Tracks around the Tent and after all of this have time to pick up a can of beans and happily run back to the Barbecue area with her son. It just DID NOT happen Lindy doubters. Azaria was alive and kicking after Lindy returned from the Tent. 2 - Even if she the Time, how is it no traces of blood were found in the Car - the supposed murder venue. The Police claimed they found blood but this was later dismissed as engine noise dampner. So where did all the real blood go? 3 - The most conclusive fact that proves Lindy Innocent. How do the Lindy doubters explain the fact that the fellow Campers heard a sharp cry coming from the Chamberalin Tent while Lindy was standing in front of them at the Barbecue area! Afterall this Cry was heard just minutes after Lindy was supposed to have slaughtered baby Azaria and stuffed her body in a camera bag.. FACE THE FACTS AUSTRALIA!...more info
  • Streep at her best
    Meryl Streep is firing on all cylinders in this brilliant portrayal (and movie) of Lindy Chamberlain. I can't believe she didn't get the Oscar for this one. Stripping away all possible mannerisms (twitchy eyes, flighty hands, dramatic pauses) and adopting a steeled gaze, Streep transforms herself into the most dislikable (and fascinating!) victim she has yet played. It's almost as if the bones of her face have been replaced by iron. People alway remark about her accents, but the accent is always the least of her characterizations. Her ability to adopt the look and simply the BEING of her characters is unparalleled. This is really screen acting at its best. And this is a great film, too, for its observations into how an entire culture can become caught up in the guilt or innocence of one person they don't even know (O.J., anyone?)...more info
  • Streeps Last Good Film
    A CRY IN THE DARK, in my opinion, is Meryl Streep's last good film before she started making films like SHE DEVIL and became an action star in RIVER WILD -- fun, good, Hollywood movies, yes! But this talented lady deserves so much more.

    Watching A CRY IN THE DARK on DVD made me think how much ahead of its time this film was. It predated O.J. Simpson and all of the "mothers killing children" stories that have been newsworthy of late. (Of course, the story is old news to Australians.) However, the film focuses attention on the power of the media and the harm of "speculation". I think Meryl's character shows us, too, that a stern, blank face is open for interpretation and imagination. Because she did not react in public as we all expect a grieving mother to, then suspicions arise.

    Streep is excellent. Sam Neal is as well. The film is like a puzzle. It is precise in its depiction of the events surrounding the child and dingo. I'm not sure the point of the film is to cast blame or say these people lied: rather, the film examines the circus around the events. And at the heart of the circus is the religious faith of this couple ... why did God take the child? Why are they being accused?

    Very interesting. Very thought provoking. Highly recommended....more info

  • 3 stars out of 4
    The Bottom Line:

    A Cry in the Dark is a capable docudrama that does a fine job retelling the story that shocked Australia; while it should be condemned for making people say "The dingo ate my baby!" in awful Australian accents, it's a worthy film with good acting by Streep and Neil....more info
  • Evil Angels
    I think this movie shows just one side of the whole Azaria Chamberlain case. On one hand is that Azaria was stolen by the dingo and on the other is that Lindy Chamberlain slit her child's throat, left her in the camera bag and disposed of her by burying her in a shallow grave and leaving evidence to cover it up. The film is brilliantly shot with sensational actors, but it could show some uncertainty in the case. After 20 years the case is still being ivestigated by a Western Australian police officer who was there when it all started. This is one of the most talked about cases in the world and everyone has their own opinion....more info
  • A Cry in the Dark
    A very fine acting performance by the main characters -- hard to watch knowing how injustice and prejudice colored the "investigation" -- but well worth the time. Will watch this one more than once....more info