Jindabyne

Jindabyne (Ray Lawrence, 2006) wr. Beatrix Christian, Ray Lawrence, based on short story 'So Much Water So Close to Home' by Raymond Carver, prod. Catherine Jarman; Gabriel Byrne, Laura Linney, Deborra-Lee Furness, Chris Haywood, John Howard, Max Cullen, Leah Purcell; mystery; shot in Kosciuszko National Park; Australian release 20 July 2006, DVD available 30 November 2006

Three men on a fishing trip discover the body of a murdered young Aboriginal woman. It's possible to see this as (merely) a bourgeois relationship morality drama, but the (black-white) cultural clash (tho a bit separate - as is the thriller aspect) is worth attending to.

With its subtle exploration of a community and the generally fine performances, this is a richly-textured film which, though it may not have the immediate impact of Lantana, resonates with you for days and weeks after you’ve seen it. David Stratton, At the Movies, ABC TV.

Unlike the emotionally powerful Lantana, Jindabyne lacks a rich emotional curve. We are enticed by the mood and the stunning vistas, but we are never satisfied. And because Lawrence builds up the mood so leisurely, the film feels long with its tension imploding instead of dispersing. The resolutions keep us at arms lengths and the ending is decidedly off-putting. Louise Keller, Urban Cinefile.

Technically excellent in every department, the film tells the story with great verve and at a well judged pace, but the strong emotional content seems to stay on the screen, without translating to the deeply moving experience we hanker for. It's as if making this a thriller isn't enough and the laboured socio-political theme introduced near the end kidnaps the film's original mood. The filmmakers use every tool available, though, including wordless vocals, a tad over-used, to add layers - which in the end become burdens. Andrew Urban, Urban Cinefile.


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