Thursday, 2 August 2007

Jindabyne - Review by Robert Duffin

Director: Ray Lawrence
Screenwriter: Beatrix Christian
Running Time: 123 mins
Certificate: 15

Released: Rerun 7th-9th August @ GFT

Returning to the Glasgow Film Theatre for three days next week is Jindabyne, director Ray Lawrence’s follow up to his critically acclaimed debut Lantana. Adapted from the Raymond Carver short story So Much Water so Close to Home, which was also part of Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, Jindabyne follows a small community in the aftermath of a brutal murder. On a “boys weekend” fishing trip, Stewart (Gabriel Byrne) and three friends discover a corpse floating down river in a secluded area far from town. Instead of immediately reporting their find, the men tether the body and enjoy their weekend. Upon returning they realise their misjudgement will have serious consequences for both their relationships and the Jindabyne community.

Ostensibly a drama, Lawrence frames the tale with the chill of a thriller. He also adds layers of dread as we see a serial killer lurking around off screen; occasionally dipping into the characters lives anonymously building up the tension. Yet Jindabyne is not about the sudden appearance of the bogeyman, but how the secrets that left to fester can tear apart long-standing relationships. Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney, his onscreen wife Claire, appear to be the ideal couple but Stewart’s ill-advised decision slowly begins to rupture their idyllic visage. Underneath lies a torrent of surreptitious past events, recalling the metaphor of the lantana bush from Lawrence’s earlier effort. Linney and Byrne, along with their supporting cast, shine.

The film’s third act narrative thrust, which sees Claire try to make peace with the dead girl’s Aboriginal family and insists on the families attending the funeral is a little trite. Yet the film’s sinister coda, another brief glimpse at the killer at large, reveals Lawrence’s dark streak and knowledge that nothing in life is ever wrapped up so easily. Mature and intelligent dramas like Jindabyne are few and far between, especially during these summer months, so this GFT re-run is a prime opportunity to catch one of the years best films.

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