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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting vision of human culpability . . .
This disturbing domestic drama takes a situation from a Raymond Carver story (already adapted for Robert Altman's film "Short Cuts") and dramatizes it in a far more unsettling way than Carver or Altman did. Four men in a small town in Australia get away from the women in their lives for a while by going on a fishing trip. When they get where they're going, they discover...
Published on December 29, 2007 by Ronald Scheer

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needed To Peak Its Head Above The Murky Waters
Stewart Kane (Gabriel Byrne, Vanity Fair) heads out with his local Jindabyne, Australia fishing buddies for a weekend of rest, recreation, and relaxation. But when Stewart discovers an aboriginal woman's body floating face-down in a river, things appear to have turned out for the worst. The largest casualty of the weekend is the men's commonsense. They don't hike out of...
Published on April 19, 2008 by B. Merritt

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting vision of human culpability . . ., December 29, 2007
This review is from: Jindabyne (DVD)
This disturbing domestic drama takes a situation from a Raymond Carver story (already adapted for Robert Altman's film "Short Cuts") and dramatizes it in a far more unsettling way than Carver or Altman did. Four men in a small town in Australia get away from the women in their lives for a while by going on a fishing trip. When they get where they're going, they discover the body of a murdered woman but choose to put off notifying any authorities until they've finished what they came for - fishing. This insensitivity is the cause of an emotional upheaval that in the original story alienates one of the wives from her husband. In this film, the ramifications are much broader, disturbing the entire community and, because the victim is an aboriginal, triggering the outrage of her family and tribe.

To what extent the men's failure to act is racist or simply chauvinistic, it's difficult to say, since they are unclear themselves about what they've done. It seems to represent a general indifference that all of the characters feel toward one another - often irritable and impatient with each other, nurturing unvoiced grievances against the world and their lot in life. From the beginning, an ominous edgy pall hangs over the scenes like the mists in the surrounding mountains, while a town, we are told, lies drowned under a man-made lake. The smoky aboriginal rituals that eventually mark the end are described as a long-overdue form of purification. It's a haunting film, made especially powerful by the performance of Laura Linney as the central character, isolated emotionally from her husband and from the community, both whites and aboriginals.

Shot mostly in available light with little rehearsal (as we learn from the DVD's accompanying making-of featurette), scenes have a kinetic, spontaneous quality that with the editing make the film ready at every turn to become darker and more tragic. At two hours, it offers a haunting journey across an emotional landscape that is reflected in the imagery of fields, lakes, and mountains that provide the setting. Downbeat in its overall portrayal of human indifference to the welfare of others and the shunning of culpability, its closing scenes of resolution aren't completely persuasive, and meanwhile the murderer is still at large. Five stars for a troubling film with the courage of its convictions. Also recommended: "Somersault," another Australian film set in a similar moral universe.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needed To Peak Its Head Above The Murky Waters, April 19, 2008
B. Merritt "" (WWW.FILMREVIEWSTEW.COM, Pacific Grove, California United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jindabyne (DVD)
Stewart Kane (Gabriel Byrne, Vanity Fair) heads out with his local Jindabyne, Australia fishing buddies for a weekend of rest, recreation, and relaxation. But when Stewart discovers an aboriginal woman's body floating face-down in a river, things appear to have turned out for the worst. The largest casualty of the weekend is the men's commonsense. They don't hike out of the ravine, and instead finish their fishing weekend with some great catches. Then they head out and report the body.

The town and the men's lives quickly turn into a mess. The local media swarms them, and accusations of aboriginal prejudices rear up from the local natives. Stewart's wife Claire (Laura Linney, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) senses the deeper meanings of what her husband and his friends did, but has to battle with it through her own mental illness.

Amidst all this chaos is the life that was this young woman who is now a media spectacle, splayed out on a morgue slab. Her murder and subsequent dumping into the water are symbolic of what lay beneath the town of Jindabyne: a division of men and women, black and white, social and outcast.

The only other people who seem to understand some of what is going on are two young kids: Stewart and Claire's son who is being led around by a half-breed Aussie who's mother was killed also just a few years before. The young girl lives with her grandparents and is trying to let go of her mother the best way she can, and the discovery of a new body seems -- strangely enough -- a method in which to accomplish this (again, the underlying current of Jindabyne is surmised).

Everything and everyone in this Jindabyne township feels what lurks beneath its surface, yet none of them are willing to dive into the murky waters and take a look around (the symbolism here is seen when a nearby lake that is used for recreation and swimming is said to contain the old town of Jindabyne under its surface). None, that is, until Claire forces them to.

The movie is interesting if a bit too convoluted. There are far too many storylines that needed exploring and it just doesn't get done; too many loose threads. The acting was okay, but the filming was terrible. Wobbly cameras, grainy or dark shots, and just a generalized sloppiness hurt the overall production.

I enjoy symbolic films, Northfork being one of my all-time favorites in that vein. But Jindabyne needed to peak its head above the turbid water so that it could see its own problems, which simply didn't happen.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Murder and Its Implications for a Town's Families, October 3, 2007
This review is from: Jindabyne (DVD)
JINDABYNE is a disturbing, somber little film from Australia - a film with profound observations about ethics, racism, the fragility of marriage, the vulnerability of children's minds, and the desperate need for respect for beliefs and peoples outside the mainstream. Beatrix Christian adapted the screenplay from one of Raymond Carver's brilliant short stories, 'So Much Water So Close to Home': it has been said that Carver had 'the ability to render graceful prose from dreary, commonplace, scrapping-the-bottom human misery' and this story embodies all of those traits. As directed by Ray Lawrence with a cast of excellent actors, JINDABYNE will likely become a classic movie - if enough people will take the time and commitment to see it.

In a small town called Jindabyne in Australia a group of four men depart their families for a fishing trip: Stewart Kane (Gabriel Byrne), Carl (John Howard), Rocco (Stelios Yiakmis) and Billy (Simon Stone). While fly fishing in the back country, Stewart discovers the nude, murdered body of a dead Aboriginal girl Susan (Tatea Reilly) floating in the water, calls his buddies to witness the ugly act, and together they decide to wait until their fishing trip is over before reporting it.

When the men return home, concerned and embarrassed about their actions as they report to the police, the town is outraged at their thoughtless behavior. Yet more outraged are the wives of the men - Carl's wife Jude (Deborra-Lee Furness), Rocco's mate Carmel (Leah Purcell), Billy's 'wife' Elissa (Alice Garner) and, most of all, Stewart's wife Claire (Laura Linney) - a woman with a history of mental instability for whom her husband's insensitivity becomes intolerable. Claire sets out to 'right' things with the Aboriginal tribe who are devastated at the murder and the disregard for another human being's life that the fishermen have demonstrated. The town and the families (including children) are fractured by the deed - and the strange aspect is that no one appears concerned to discover the murderer, the greater 'crime' has been against human decency. In a powerfully moving final memorial for the dead girl every one is forced to face the dirty aspects of the recent events and come to a degree of understanding and acceptance.

Filmed in the beauty of the Australian countryside with camera technique that feels intimate and almost spying in nature, the story unfolds so naturally that the audience is made to feel a part of the dilemma at hand. The acting is first rate: Laura Linney once again proves she is one of our finest actresses, and Gabriel Byrne makes his odd character wholly believable. The supporting cast (especially the women) is outstanding. This is a sleeper of a film that deserves a wide audience, an audience ready to commit to thinking and reacting to an act and subsequent public response that, while difficult to swallow, is essential information if we are to exist in the society we have created. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, October 07
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Exhibit A' on scapegoating, November 23, 2009
Wuchak (Eastern USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jindabyne (DVD)
"Jindabyne" (pronounced JIN-da-bine) is a 2006 Australian film about a crisis in the country town of the same name in New South Wales. Four guys on a fishing trip in the deep wilderness discover a body of a young woman in a creek, a woman who's part aboriginal; they unwisely decide to finish their fishing escapades before reporting the body 2 days later. When the press gets ahold of the story the men are publicly castigated for their clueless irresponsibility; their actions are also interpreted as racist by the local native population and the girl's family. Claire (Laura Linney), the wife of one of the men, Stewart (Gabriel Byrne), can't believe they didn't immediately report the body and becomes very suspicious of the incident, as well as alienated from her husband. Meanwhile the killer is on the loose.

"Jindabyne" combines elements of "Deliverance" (1972) and "Picnic at Hanging Rock" (1975). The similarities with the former are obvious, while it shares the latter's haunting ambiance and overall mysteriousness of the Australian wilderness (albeit Eastern Australia rather than Western).

While "Jindabyne" isn't the most captivating piece of celluloid and leaves some aspects unresolved, it did hold my attention and the story provokes numerous insights and questions. For instance, the killer is revealed in the opening shot. This isn't someone frothing at the mouth with evil, but rather an ordinary-looking electrician. One important scene late in the film shows him swatting a bee and we get the impression that he's willing to kill a human being with the exact same indifference. Why's this important? There are ordinary-looking people out there who have no qualms about snuffing out a person's life for their own selfish purposes if they think they can get away with it, just as there are people who would steal, molest or falsely testify without a second thought (take note of the scene where a boy almost gets molested at a secluded beach). We shouldn't assume everyone's like us. There are evil people out there who prey on others; we should be conscious of this and warn our youth. If the aboriginal girl had truly realized this she wouldn't have allowed herself to fall into the killer's grasp.

[Minor SPOILERS follow as I attempt to intrepret the film]

As I understand it, the four men found the body sometime late in the afternoon on Friday and didn't report it immediately because there was no cell phone reception so far back in the sticks. They waited until Sunday to make the call. In the meantime they tied the body to a tree to keep it from being swept downstream and went about their fishing business. This provokes numerous questions: I realize one of them sprained his ankle but why didn't they send one or two back immediately to report the body? Was it too late? Were they concerned about a killer on the loose in the area? How were they able to block out the presence of the dead body to enjoy their fishing trip? If it was a white teenager would they have reacted in the same callous manner?

The story gives evidence that they were fishoholics excited about their adventure and simply weren't prepared to handle the burden and responsibility of a mysterious dead body. Hence, they temporarily blocked out the corpse and continued their endeavors. Later, in the big fight scene with Claire, Stewart admits with all the rage that only guilt can cook up, that it did FEEL GOOD to be fishing for awhile, free from the shackles of his every-day mundane existence in "civilization." But how could it? Maybe because many men have the ability to BE IN THE MOMENT, to focus on their main goal and, basically, forget, for a while, the circumstances surrounding them.

This, I think, director Ray Lawrence portrays effectively in the fishing scene. The day is glorious, the landscape is beautiful and the music is pleasant. The scene is a soothing interlude between moments of tension; it's like momentary heaven on earth. So much so, I found myself smiling along with Stewart and the other guys. And then they remembered the dead body.

Many say the movie is about making a stupid decision and the requisite consequences, as well as repentance, forgivenness and compassion. True, but the movie is also about the differences between the way man and woman view and deal with reality. I doubt most women would be able to ignore the presence of a corpse enough to enjoy a fishing holiday in the wilderness, which explains why Claire becomes so appalled at the guys' actions. No wonder she looks at her husband as if she doesn't even really know him; their marriage was already strained and this understandably rips it apart (to say nothing of the weirdo mother-in-law -- she'd give anyone the heebie-jeebies!).

Another scene that depicts this difference is when Stewart comes home from the fishing trip in the middle of the night. Feeling guilty and confused, he needs to make love to Claire, to touch her and give her pleasure in order to regain a bit of his humanity. Talking about it is not an option for him, there are simply no words. It's evidently a way for Stewart to "skip" the whole event, to deny his own responsablity, to pretend he's not concerned by it.

Yet, I think the film is about scapegoating more than anything. A beautiful young girl is dead and it's almost impossible to discern who did it, so the community's collective pain is hurled at the four doofuses who trivialized her in death in order to preserve their paradisical holiday. Also, the film obviously compares the men's cavalier disregard with the heartless indifference of the killer himself. Which isn't to say they're anywhere close to being as bad as the murderer, not at all, but they do share one of the key traits that enables him to do what he does.

As far as implications of the bee sting go, there are many: (1) It represents the girl taking some small revenge now that she was one with nature (according to the aborigines). (2) It showed nature beginning to assert its dominance over this man who professes a psychological link of some kind with artificial power (electricity), which he also represents, and the way he uses nature to abet his crimes (i.e. hiding in the rocks and disposing of his victims in the stream). (3) It simply shows that his cycle of predation and murder is an eroding one, in that the longer he keeps doing it the more things will happen that are beyond his control, and will eventually lead to his discovery. (4) It signifies how a murderer can kill a person with no remorse or anything, just like killing an insect. And (5) It shows how the killer's still alive since he can feel and react to the bee whereas the girl's dead and gone as her body is unable to feel or react to the insects transgressing her corpse (as depicted in an earlier scene).

The only significant criticism I can voice concerns the corpse of the girl; her body almost looks sexy, which is never the case in real life and even more so in this particular case since the body's been dead for awhile and lying in a creek under the hot sun most of a day. My wife works as a general manager at a large burial park and therefore sees bodies all the time, young and old. Corpses are gross and smelly. Death is never sexy.

FINAL SAY: Maybe the film's not worthy of such a long write-up since it's not the most engrossing flick out there, but I wanted to illustrate how provocative "Jindabyne" is. There's a lot to this film and there's much more I'd like to address but this critique is overkill as it is. Suffice to say, this is a film for thinking people and those who prefer arty brooding flicks. If you appreciated the mysterious vibe of "Picnic at Hanging Rock" you'll probably like this one. I think it's better.

The film was shot in and around Jindabyne, which is a couple hours drive south of Canberra by the Snowy Mountains; needless to say, the locations are a highlight.

The runtime is 123 minutes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an unusually complex and original drama, July 30, 2008
This review is from: Jindabyne (DVD)
"Jindabyne" is an elegant, thought-provoking drama that uses mysticism and social commentary to tell the story of a serial killer and his impact on a community. Jindabyne is a small town in New South Wales that had to be relocated in the 1960's due to the damning of a local river. Since that time, a number of legends have sprung up around the old town that currently resides at the bottom of the newly formed lake. It's almost as if the ghosts of the past linger on to haunt those living in the present.

The trouble begins when four buddies, while on a fishing trip in a remote area of the mountains, discover the body of a murdered girl floating in a river. Rather than returning home immediately to inform the authorities of what they`ve uncovered, the men decide to continue fishing for a few more days. This sets off tremendous reverberations among both the townsfolk and their own individual families when the men finally arrive back home with their story.

"Jindabyne" throws so many disparate characters and plotlines into the mix that it could easily have become dissipated and unfocused had it fallen into less capable hands than those of writer Beatrix Christian and director Ray Lawrence. Instead, in adapting Raymond Carver's short story, "So Much Water So Close to Home," to the screen, these filmmakers have created a broad, multi-leveled drama that is not afraid to take its time in gathering the strands of its story, and which is as much a portrait of a complex, troubled marriage and of a community torn asunder by a shocking event as it is a tale of an unsolved murder.

Yet, even though the film is rich in minor characters (all enacted by a first-rate cast), the main focus is on Claire and Stuart Kane, two individuals with deep-seated problems and issues that are sometimes as unclear to us as they are to the characters themselves. In fact, so much is taking place beneath the surface with these characters that the murder mystery itself becomes almost incidental to what the movie is really all about. Indeed, the meaning is often found in those things which are left UNSAID, rather than what is actually stated.

Laura Linney is particularly compelling as a woman battling a depression she can't quite understand, yet trying her best to keep her family from coming apart at the seams. Gabriel Byrne is equally intriguing as her husband, a basically decent guy who makes a crucial wrong choice in not reporting the body immediately, and then must live with the consequences of that action for the rest of his life. The movie also deals with the issues of ethical choices, social ostracism and even racial division (the victim was of aboriginal descent) that arise as a result of the men's actions - or, if you prefer, lack of action - in the course of the story. Finally, the movie broadens out to become a tale of personal redemption and communal healing.

The filmmakers heighten the sense of mystery by never spelling the details out for us in simplistic terms, trusting the audience to grasp the meaning without having to be hit over the head with it. As an indication of the intelligence and depth of the storytelling, the characters in this film are never even remotely pigeonholed as "types," a fact that keeps us unbalanced and off guard for the duration of the movie.

Lawrence's direction is lyrical, unhurried and focused, and the photography by David Williamson perfectly captures the haunting beauty of the Australian countryside.

Those searching for a conventional serial killer thriller are destined, perhaps, to be disappointed by "Jindabyne," but those with a taste for the unconventional and unexpected will surely appreciate the riches offered by this unusually subtle and complex film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, May 9, 2007
This review is from: Jindabyne [Region 4] (DVD)
As a huge fan of Lantana (Ray Lawrence's last movie), I was so looking forward to seeing this movie. When I finally got the chance to, I was left feeling ho-hum about it.

It wasn't a bad movie - I vaguely enjoyed it, just not in any way that left me stunned at the end or still thinking about it days later.

Jindabyne tells the story of four men who go on a fishing trip in a remote area. On their first day, one of the men (Byrne) discovers the body of a young aborinal women floating in the river. Rather then report their finding immediately, they tether the body to stop it floating away, and continue their trip, only reporting the discovery of the body at the end of the trip (3 days later). The film deals with the reactions of the town where the four men live (Jindabyne), in particular the main guys wife (Linney) who only finds out about the discovery the day after her husband returns home when the police turn up on the doorstep.

Maybe it was because I went into this film with such high expectations following Lantana, but this film felt really drawnout. The majority of the film is focused almost solely on Byrne & Linney's characters, with seemingly a cursory look at how what happened affected the other three men and their partners. I personally would have been interested to see more of the other charactors.

Also, in none of the reviews/decriptions I read leading upto the the film, was it mentioned that it was an aboriginal women they found. The race thing plays like a major part of the movie, with the questions of whether the 4 men would have done the same thing if it hadn't been an aboriginal women, and the differences in cultures playing throughout the movie. To me, the fact that the girl was aboriginal allowed the filmmakers to follow some predictable storylines, but served no purpose overall.

I think overall though, I would have enjoyed this film much more, if I had any kind of understanding as to why the four men did what they did. I can't wrap my head around why 4 grown, respectable people would choose to finish enjoying their holiday after discovering a body.

But then, maybe this is how the viewer is supposed to feel.

Couple more quick points.

1) the ending was very predictible and didn't really resolve anything

2) one of the very interesting things I found with the movie was the way in which public attention focused on the four men and what they had done, rather then on the finding the girls killer. This story I would have enjoyed seeing explored more.

So, if you're looking for a great Australian film, my recommendation would be to hire out Lantana.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Gone Fishing", October 22, 2007
This review is from: Jindabyne (DVD)
`Jindabyne' is one of those unique cinematic experiences that keeps one alert every moment. It's an unsettling movie; one that is quietly suspenseful and disturbing, but its message is almost indelible. The moral of the story kept bringing back memories of the mid-eighties' movie 'River's Edge' River's Edge or the more recent 'Brick,' Brick) even though the atmosphere is clearly different than either one. (Not to mention mostly involving adults, rather than teenagers, this time.) The editing (Thanks to Karl Sodersten) should be given a prize.

The title is named for a town in SE Australia, a tight village in the corner of the Wales Province. The movie starts out with a woman in her car, driving down a remote dusty road. She is followed by an older man, driving a huge utility vehicle. He is trying to call attention to some danger and gets her to pull off the side of the road. As so many movies do, the scene is too brutal to show, but later, the results show her body being dumped into a rural river.

Meanwhile, back in Jindabyne, some residents are getting ready for an anticipated fishing expedition. Stewart Caine (Gabriel Byrne) is a famous former stock car racer (Significantly, it reminded me of NASCAR.) His buddies include Rocco (Stelios Yiakmis), Billy "the Kid" (Simon Stone), and Carl (John Howard). Most of the movie's focus comes from Stewart's wife, Claire (Laura Linley) who is shaken by the repercussions of their trip.

Gung ho for the catches and the camaraderie, the four men come upon the body when Stewart goes upstream intending to find a prize catch. To keep the corpse from drifting, the men tie her with fishing line. Rather than cut the trip short, they decide to keep fishing and come around to their car to call authorities two days later.

`Jindabyne' has all the components of a memorable movie. As they return to 'Jindabyne' their decisions come to haunt them as the fallout shakes the town's foundation. Questions about the value of life, racism, and festering violence shatter the core of every member of the community. As a nice parallel, Stewart and Claire's son, and Carl's daughter give into animal sacrifices, and danger lurks near everyone around as the contingency of an undertow seems perennially present, and the mysterious killer goes at large.

Although not a horror movie, there are supernatural elements in 'Jindabyne'. Even more plausible and suspenseful than most slasher films, the movie is meaningful from beginning to end. Veering close to misanthropy, the performances, particularly Linley's, an intelligent script (Beatrix Christian), and some astute directing (Ray Lawrence), 'Jindabyne' is a thoughtful and edgy film experience. (Based on the short story "So Much Water So Close to Home" by Raymond Carver.)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars DOWN UNDER BLUES, October 23, 2007
This review is from: Jindabyne (DVD)
JINDABYNE is the name of the small town in New South Wales where this dark drama is set. Four friends on a weekend fishing trip discover the body of a murdered young Aborigine girl. Instead of reporting their find immediately, they tether her to a tree, continue their fishing expedition and report the body on Sunday. In addition to upsetting the surrounding Aboriginal population, the townspeople of Jindabyne also express their disgust with the seemingly insensitive behavior of the fishermen. This also causes a rift in the already tenuous marriage of the film's two stars, Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne.
The movie is slow moving and seems longer than its 2 hours+ length, but Linney and Byrne are superlative in their roles as is the supporting cast especially Deborah Furness as Jude. Not for everyone's tastes, but the film does pack an emotional wallop.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Pretend You're Going Fishing" ~ Prejudice Or Poor Judgement?, October 12, 2007
This review is from: Jindabyne (DVD)
Synopsis: Four good friends from the rural, white community of Jindabyne take off for their highly anticipated weekend fishing to a special spot in search of the perfect catch. However things do not proceed exactly as planned when they discover the dead body of a young aboriginal woman floating in the water on their first day of camp. Instead of immediately hiking back and contacting the authorities they unwisely decide to stay and enjoy their fishing expedition.

Upon their return to "civilization" the following Monday their callous behavior stirs an immediate uproar in both the white and black communities leaving both the four men and their families in a moral crisis over their thoughtless and selfish actions.

Subtext: Adding depth and complexity to the recent horrific events in the community of Jindabyne is an understated and unfortunately undeveloped subtext concerning the origins of the town. There are several references early in the film to the town once residing in another nearby location. Apparently the old Jindabyne now resides at the bottom of a manmade lake built to service the new Jindabyne and a large electric powerplant.

The concept of an intact town submerged beneath the water remains a constant, ghostly presence in the collective memory of the community and a perfect analogy for the tale that unfolds within this setting. There are many issues examined in this film, maybe the most important being the realization that external change (new location of Jindabyne) isn't necessarily accompanied by internal change (old attitudes and racial prejudices).

Critique: Released in `06 `Jindabyne' joins the ever growing list of extremely well done, insightful films from "Down Under" dealing with the disparity of equality in both thought and deed that continues to exist between the white population and the native Aborigines. Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney are superb together and their interaction as husband and wife is both intense and poignant. The film also contains a haunting, bittersweet soundtrack and some beautiful scenary that is sure to please its viewers. The film is a little slow and the ending is not completely satisfying especially for those who like storylines with no loose ends but the film is well worth a watch or two.

My Rating: -4 Stars-.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Catharsis in Jindabyne, but it might not be the catharsis you craved or expected, March 13, 2009
This review is from: Jindabyne (DVD)
Jindabyne is an Australian film, yet it stars an Irish actor, Gabriel Byrne as Stewart, and Laura Linney as Claire. Based on a Short Story by Raymond Carver, "So Much Water So Close to Home" the screenplay is recast in New South Wales, Australia by Beatrix Christian; and filmed on location in Jindabyne, in Australia, a location that served the story well.

You have a vast desert, with alien rock formations near "so much water" and a river with an almost magical fishing hole. You have an immense power plant, powered by the dam, exerting such a strong magnetic field that even the cell phones are rendered useless. There is a clash between the newcomers and the indigenous people, with an equally powerful disruption of communication. There is a legend that a ghost city sits at the bottom of the reservoir, the original site of Jindabyne.

A lot happens in the film, but lots of story arcs are never concluded, lots of loose ends never tied. Just as the original site of Jindabyne lies submerged under the water from the dam project, populated by skeletons and the old timers who refused to leave; the new Jindabyne has its own skeletal population. Nearly every character has numerous skeletons in their closet, yet scarcely a few are ever explained. The trauma that bent the neighbor girl? Her mother's suicide? What caused the rift between Claire and Stewart's mother?

The central fact of the story is about a murder. An aborigine woman is on her way to sing at the Jindabyne Fair when she is accosted. The killer throws her into the river, and she ends up downriver where her corpse is found by Stewart and his fishing buddies. When they step over her body to continue fishing and only report it days later it is a catalyst for a whole host of unforeseen consequences. The town and the victim's people turn their anger on Stewart and his crew, and all are forced to face painful truths about themselves. Claire and Stewart's relationship is put to the test, and it very nearly unravels.

Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne both give tremendous performances, supported by a great cast of locals and others. Laura in particular is relentless as Claire; she keeps pushing for reconciliation, in spite of a universally hostile reaction from both her neighbors and the victim's people. Her every action seems so wrong, in spite of her grim determination to make things right.

Gabriel shows off not only nuance and subtlety, but also paints with broader strokes moments of extreme emotions. Now a mechanic and a weekend fisherman, he recalls his glory days of racing, but those days are gone and his youth is fading. His only solace is beer and fishing. When Claire confronts him about his callous actions or lack thereof towards the dead woman he explodes in violent rage. Can he ever gain redemption?

All the unanswered questions hang over the story like a shroud of mist, evoking quite an eerie mood throughout. The identity of the killer, while known to the audience, haunts them with a foreboding feeling whenever he appears. Will he get caught? Will he kill again? What made him a killer?

If you want all the stories tied up in a neat bow at the end of the movie, then you might not like this film at all, but if you'll allow a film to ask, not answer questions, then you very well might like it a lot. There's catharsis in Jindabyne, but it might not be the catharsis you craved or expected.

The Savages (2007) .... Laura Linney was Wendy Savage
The Squid and the Whale (Special Edition) (2005) .... Laura Linney was Joan Berkman
Kinsey (2004) .... Laura Linney was Clara McMillen
P.S. (2004) .... Gabriel Byrne was Peter Harrington and Laura Linney was Louise Harrington
Mystic River (Widescreen Edition) (2003) .... Laura Linney was Annabeth Markum
You Can Count on Me (2000) .... Laura Linney was Samantha 'Sammy' Prescott
Stigmata (1999) .... Gabriel Byrne was Father Andrew Kiernan
The Usual Suspects (1995) .... Gabriel Byrne was Dean Keaton
Little Women (Collector's Edition) (1994) .... Gabriel Byrne was Friedrich Bhaer
Gothic (1986) .... Gabriel Byrne was Byron
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Jindabyne by Ray Lawrence
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