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Needed To Peak Its Head Above The Murky Waters,
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.