A frightening story of a young woman’s desire for death, captures one of the more bizarre crimes to take place recently in Australia.
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In late 1997, Joe Cinque was murdered by his girlfriend—law student Anu Singh. In a pre-meditated and senseless attack, she sedated him by lacing his coffee and then injected him with a lethal dose of heroin. The court documents suggest it took him more than a day to die, and that she watched him, doing nothing to stop it.
Adding to the incredible circumstances was the knowledge of her intentions amongst her friends. She had bragged to them about her own desires to commit suicide, and her willingness to take him with her. None of them warned him. Even more confounding, many actually joined them for dinner on the evening she intended to act, knowing he was in immediate danger.
While this reads like the stuff of a dark and strange fiction, this terrible crime took place in Canberra not long ago. Today, Singh has been released after serving only four years behind bars, has earned a Masters and a Doctorate in law, while the Cinque family continue to grieve.
The film—an adaptation of Helen Garner’s novel—traces the oddity and brazenness of Singh. It explores the psychological tensions at play as her narcissism builds to extraordinary levels. It also presents a cast of friends who seem so willing to indulge Singh’s sick intentions, and even assist her in the task.
While the performances are a little inconsistent and the flow at times a little slow, Joe Cinque’s Consolation is compelling viewing, simply as the subject and the crime itself are like a train wreck in slow motion—you can see the crash about to happen, and yet you can’t look away.
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Director: Sotiris Dounoukos
Stars: Maggie Naouri, Jerome Meyer, Sacha Joeseph
Runtime: 102 mins
Release Date: October 13
Reviewer Rating: 3/5