Tuesday 18th January 2022

Jindabyne (15)
Directed by: Ray Lawrence
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

Jindabyne is the name of a town in Australia, and it's the home of Stewart Kane (Gabriel Byrne) and his wife Claire (Laura Linney). They seem to get on well enough when the film starts and Stewart in particular is very excited about his upcoming, all-male fishing trip over the mountains with his three mates.

Gabriel Byrne: Goes fishing. Big whoop.
Gabriel Byrne: Goes fishing. Big whoop.

However, when the boys bid farewell to everyone and set off for their trip, they don't realise precisely what they are letting themselves in for, because almost as soon as they arrive, one of them discovers the body of murdered girl floating in the river. The film isn't entirely clear on the next point, but for some reason, the guys think it is best to leave the girl in the cold water to preserve her body while they fish for the weekend, and then report their discovery when they are ready to leave.

When they finally report the matter to the police and return home, they are met with a fierce backlash from their local small town community, including from the press, the family of the deceased girl and even their own wives and friends.

All this tension leads to many arguments, confrontations and possibly even a smidgen of self-discovery. But ultimately, nothing much happens in the film. It might have some quite beautiful shots of the dry, Australian, small town landscape, and it is, of course, wonderfully acted, but honestly, who would want to watch this?

It might work as a short story, but as feature film it doesn't stand up. I struggle to believe that four men would actually leave a dead body around for a weekend without reporting it, and also that there would be such uproar if they did. I certainly wouldn't expect it to cause Laura Linney to have a massive nervous breakdown.

The film intentionally lacks a resolution, which is very unfulfilling. It's also quite interesting that, although we see the murder at the start of the film, there is no mention throughout of the murder investigation – it seems the whole film is about the selfishness of the people who have been touched by the murder and not at all about the poor victim or her family. Unless you really fancy sitting through and then analysing a slow-paced and quite far-fetched character piece, I'd give this one a huge body-swerve if I were you.

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Length: 123 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 25th May 2007

Top Five Rating: 50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0% (50.0%)
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