Jindabyne (R)

Drama 123 April 27, 2007
By J. Hoberman
Jindabyne, the Aboriginal word for "valley," is named for a town in southeastern Australia that, flooded by a dam, lies at the bottom of a man-made lake. Like more than a few Australian movies, it's haunted by the primal crime committed against the Aborigines and is something of a ghost story. Like Ray Lawrence's previous films, it's also very much a literary adaptation, an actor-driven thriller that elaborates on "So Much Water So Close to Home," perhaps the best-known story by the late, laconic Raymond Carver. The premise is casually outrageous. Four family guys on a ritual fishing trip discover the body of a young woman floating downstream. It's 11 miles back to the road, it's the weekend, and so they tether the woman's corpse to a tree and continue to fish, drink, and bullshit, with disastrous results for at least one man's marriage. Scarcely anonymous, the victim is a young Aborigine woman, and her murderer could be a serial killer. The unhappy central couple, Claire (Laura Linney) and Stewart (Gabriel Byrne), is considerably more complicated. Playing emotionally isolated characters, Linney and Byrne make for an impressively dour couple, and Jindabyne is a soberly if sluggishly crafted movie in which the bitterness never stops.
Ray Lawrence Laura Linney, Gabriel Byrne, Chris Haywood, Deborra-Lee Furness, John Howard, Leah Purcell, Eva Lazzero, Sean Rees-Wemyss, Alice Garner, Simon Stone Raymond Carver, Beatrix Christian Catherine Jarman Sony Pictures Classics

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