Daddy's Little Girl

Revenge films are extremely popular, no doubt due to the catharsis they offer the viewer. It’s classic tension and release of ire by proxy. When presented one-dimensionally they are cartoonish and flat but when they contain the complex range of emotions that exist in real life, tales of this genre are compelling and human. They also become extremely popular, as in the case of Australian film Daddy’s Little Girl. Director Chris Sun’s depiction of a father’s investigation and pursuit of retribution for his child’s murder garnered massive praise from groups like the ASIN (Australian Screen Industry Network Awards) and PollyGrind Underground Film Festival of Las Vegas, as well as others. Recognized for Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Producer, and receiving the Grand Jury Prize, nearly every aspect of this film was noted for excellence. In terms of story, the bridge between the vengeful patriarch of this family and the murderer is the distraught/angry teen portrayed by Brooke Chamberlain. The actress received immense recognition for her presentation of Melissa, the daughter who has one foot in the tragedy of the story and the other in the disbelief that the audience feels. Melissa has been referred to as the anchor of the story and this is a product of Chamberlain’s riveting performance.

It’s an actors job to cultivate the emotion that inspires us as viewers. What we experience for moments, these professionals take on for weeks or months. For dark tales such as this, there is an obvious oppressive element. Chamberlain describes, “I think as an actor you always feel connected to your characters in some way or form but it’s not an unhealthy thing. The experience becomes a beautiful memory of being on set and these feelings always hold a nice little spot in your heart, even if the character had a tough life or attitude. We all go through hard times but you always come out stronger; I believe it’s the same with acting, you learn so much from each role you play and you grow as an actor from job to job. However, you always want to go back to the things that make you refresh after filming. For me, its surfing and travelling that allow me to reconnect to Brooke and leave Melissa behind.”

In addition to receiving the Grand Jury Prize at the PollyGrind Underground Film Festival of Las Vegas, Daddy’s Little Girl swept the Australian Screen Industry Network Awards. The film is about a father’s relationship with his daughter who is kidnapped and murdered by a pedophile who turns out to be his own brother. The father finds his brother’s diary which details all of his murders and kidnappings over the years and the film takes you on the father’s journey in pursuit of revenge. The intensity of this betrayal is the catalyst which contemplates the idea of leaving justice to the authorities or taking it into one’s own hands. The outcome of this is presented in the graphic and brutal style for which Director Chris Suns is known for and emotionally assembled thanks to the editing work of Michael Gilbert (whose recent work includes Columbia Pictures Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Underworld: Blood Wars, and Summit Entertainment’s John Wick: Chapter 2).

Melissa is a goth teen who has more than enough justification for her angst due to her little brother’s kidnapping and brutal murder by the serial killer. In a statement that might seem counterintuitive, Brooke notes, “I had the absolute time of my life working on Daddy’s Little Girl. I really understood her pain as a character and I definitely felt attached to her as an actress. She is a person that the audience can really relate to. I had a special connection with her as I went through my own goth phase in my younger years. Looking back, I wonder ‘what was I thinking wearing that?’”

Author: Kelly King

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