Evil Angels (A Cry in the Dark)

1988

Evil Angels (A Cry in the Dark)

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

93%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 27

74%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,976
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Movie Info

While visiting Ayers Rock in the Australian outback, a woman sees a dingo sneaking into the tent where her baby is sleeping. Seconds later she discovers the child gone. In spite of her insistence that the dingo killed the child, she is eventually charged with murder.

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Cast

Meryl Streep
as Lindy Chamberlain
Sam Neill
as Michael Chamberlain
Dale Reeves
as Aidan, 6 years
David Hoflin
as Aidan, 8 years
Nick Tate
as Charlwood
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell
as Justice Muirhead
Dorothy Alison
as Avis Murchison
Matthew Barker
as O'Loughlin
Ian Gilmour
as John Buckland
Sandy Gore
as Joy Kuhl
Frankie J. Holden
as Leslie Thompsomn
Jim Holt
as John Eldridge
Brion James
as Cliff Murchison
Debra Lawrence
as Sally Lowe
Mark Little
as Constable Morris
Bill McCluskey
as Greg Lowe
Kevin Miles (II)
as Professor Cameron
Dennis Miller
as Sturgess
Burt Cooper
as Golligan
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Critic Reviews for Evil Angels (A Cry in the Dark)

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (7)

  • Streep's beauty and talent and director Fred Schepisi's intelligence are both shown to best advantage, without easy points or grandstanding.

    Dec 19, 2011 | Full Review…
  • Streep and Neill are the film's perfectly matched thoroughbreds. But the film is neither a double star turn nor the best kind of courtroom drama; it is a sort of epic mosaic of national character.

    Dec 19, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Streep (the best thing she has done in ages) carries it along.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Streep ... plays Lindy Chamberlain with the kind of virtuosity that seems to redefine the possibilities of screen acting.

    Aug 30, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 17, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Streep -- yes, with another perfect accent -- brings her customary skillfulness to the part. It's not a showy performance, but the heroine's internal struggle seems to come from the actress' pores.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Evil Angels (A Cry in the Dark)

  • Nov 03, 2013
    Fred Schepisi's sole achievement is mainly two things: i) A furious denunciation of the mental framing that mass media employs in its communication strategy towards its national audiences. ii) A wake-up call for the audiences themselves to be objective, to question everything seen in the media and to have a mature perspective towards any situation while detaching themselves from any racial or religious prejudice that may blind their judgment. Evil Angels (aka A Cry in the Dark, the international English title made up for adding dramatic effect) moves at a merciless pace, covering whole years in the lives of the characters, moving from one tiny event to the next even if it may seem irrelevant, quickly moving from one comment of a random citizen to another quarrel between either Lindy Chamberlain and Michel Chamberlain or between random Australian citizens in intervals of between 10 to 15 seconds(!). As you progress, you perceive the film as something rushed, as if it was self-aware that it has a limited amount of screen time but also wants to capture every single view and comment ever spoken by everybody directly or indirectly involved in the conflict. Such technique somewhat mimics the furious editing of the last 30 minutes of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), that is, making a direct statement of social relevance while quickly depicting the effects of the events in the surrounding environment of the main character. The same case applies here. Meryl Streep is the highlight, and thanks to this film, I have seen enough of her filmography to declare her as one of the most gifted and talented actresses of our times, and possibly of all times. She can act with an accent, convincingly, as an angel in the middle of darkness and chaos fighting for her own sense of justice and for the sake of the moral survival of her family amidst a society that blindly makes hypocritical judgments, like if they were the perfect jurors of the world. How the film jumps from one fragment to the next may put off some audiences. For those not minding the unusual pacing decisions taken by some serious filmmakers during the 80s (such as Sidney Lumet or Costa-Gavras), please see this film. The relevance of its message is, right now, at its highest peak, and for those even seeking something visual that may compensate a couple of other aspects, the editing is sublime, the performances are out of this world, the cinematography is hypnotic (the 80s were good at this, as in Gorillas in the Mist) and Schepisi's attempt to replicate an immature nation is extraordinary just as it is incredibly prophetic. 83/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 19, 2013
    Meryl Streep plays the dingo lady..or at least the woman who was convinced that a dingo took her baby. A compelling look at one of the most pivotal events in Australian history.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2010
    "The dingo's got my baby!" I can't recollect how I stumbled upon this flick. But besides the above quote, a few other things tempted me to go for it: --> its title (Evil Angels) --> that it's based on true story --> its IMDb Rating --> its genre --> somewhere while browsing its IMDb page, I read "miscarriage of justice," which apparently is my area of interest --> that it stars Meryl Streep While a couple is on a vacation with their 3 children at Ayers Rock, their 10 weeks old baby disappears one night. The mother of the baby, Lindy Chamberlain, claims that a dingo took her baby. As bizarre as it sounds, some people find it quite hard to believe, & after a bit of police investigation, she ends up being accused for the murder of her child. What follows is what you should check out for yourself. The movie kinda tries to expose how media, at times, uses facts as per its convenience to boost its sales/viewership. It also shows how, as it often happens, someone's misery is merely a gossip tool for the public & how the speculations & rumors can sometimes cloud the judgments. While I appreciate its intent, somehow, I didn't find the movie that effective overall. It's good, but it could have been better than this. Was it made in a rush (taking into consideration that the final judgment was passed on September 15, 1988)? The execution wasn't quite up to the mark. Another thing that I found disappointing was the performances. Sam Neill was slightly below average. But what surprised me more was that Meryl Streep, for this once, seemed to me a miscast. She didn't look quite convincing in this role (although usually she adapts & absorbs herself quite well in almost any role; we're all quite aware of her versatility). Anyway, that's just me, because almost everyone else has applauded her performance & she even got nominated for several awards, including Oscar. All in all, the movie is still worth a watch once as it is. But it surely could have been greater than 6.5/10. A BIT OFF TOPIC: When I found that it's available on Youtube, I thought of giving it a go there. However, while the quality was good, it wasn't up to the standards I've got used to lately (but I guess those used to watching movies online will find it good enough. I used to do that for a while when I was a beginner on the internet, but haven't done so since quite long). So I stopped right after watching the first part there. Thought I'd mention it just in case any of you wanna check it out on youtube.
    familiar s Super Reviewer
  • Aug 07, 2009
    Lindy Chamberlin: "The dingo took my baby!" words forever etched in the Australian cultural psyche. A great courtroom drama film and a terrific performance by the incomparable Meryl, who had to play not only an Australian accent but also with a hint of A New Zealand accent reflecting the background of Lindy Chamberlain.
    Jeremy S Super Reviewer

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