out of Five
Running time: 123
Impressively directed, thoroughly engaging drama with terrific performances and a superb script. This is one of the best films of the year.
What's it all about?
Set in Australia and based on the Raymond Carver short story So Much Water So Close To Home (also used in Robert Altman's Short Cuts), Jindabyne centres on a group of men, led by Stewart Kane (Gabriel Byrne), who go into the mountains for a fishing trip, find the body of a naked Aboriginal woman and decide to finish their fishing weekend before reporting it. When they return, their delay in reporting the body causes racial tensions to erupt in their community and their wives and girlfriends are both angry and horrified at what they've done.
Directed by Ray Lawrence (Lantana), Jindabyne received critical and audience acclaim at last year's Edinburgh Film Festival and it looks set to repeat that success now that it's finally getting the release it deserves. It's beautifully shot, courtesy of cinematographer David Williamson and Lawrence makes the most of the stunning landscape throughout.
Screenwriter Beatrix Christian has done a terrific job of opening out Carver's original short story and her complex, multi-layered script is extremely impressive in its portrait of a fragile community struggling to keep a lid on its emotions. Added to this, there is an extra layer of menace in that the killer (who we see in the opening scene) is constantly lurking in the background.
Laura Linney is outstanding as Stewart's wife, Claire, for whom the fishing incident only exacerbates the problems in their marriage. Byrne is equally good and there's strong support from John Howard, Stelios Yiakmis and Simon Stone as his three friends, as well as Deborra-Lee Furness as Howard's outspoken wife, Jude.
Jindabyne is an emotionally gripping, thought-provoking drama with terrific performances and a superb script. It's also one of the best films of the year - don't miss it.