Published on August 30th, 2009 | by Yellow Magpie0
Jindabyne Film Review: The Reactions Of Venus And Mars
Jindabyne Film Review
Director: Ray Lawrence
Cast: Gabriel Byrne, Laura Linney, John Howard and Simon Stone.
Here is Yellow Magpie’s Jindabyne film review.
Jindabyne, set in a small Australian town in the tough outback, is certainly not a typical film. Based on a short story, So Much Water So Close To Home by Raymond Carver, it deals with themes and issues that are often ignored, mainly the claustrophobia of trying to maintain domestic bliss and the evil of pacifism and indifference.
Stewart Kane, played by Gabriel Bryne, sets off on a fishing trip with friends, Rocco, Carl and Billy. The whole trip is centered on male bonding and the need to be free from wives and girlfriends for just a while. However, once they get to their fishing spot all is not quite well in paradise.
While trying to find an ideal location for fishing, Stewart happens to come across the body of an aborigine girl floating in a river. Inexplicably, and for reasons known only to the group, they decide to carry on fishing and report the dead body when they leave a couple of days after first spotting the dead girl. Having decided upon this course of action, they are charged by a indescribable source of energy and delight.
‘The film is an extraordinary portrayal of human behaviour in times of conflict.’
After they report the crime and all the details involved, they are brought crashing down to earth by the reception they receive from both the media and the aboriginal community. Stewart’s wife Claire makes up her mind to obtain the truth and get to the bottom of what happened on that fateful fishing trip. In doing so, she unwittingly stirs up a hornet’s nest of resentment and prejudice.
The film is an extraordinary portrayal of human behaviour in times of conflict. The acting from all involved is flawless. Both Byrne and Linney are magnificent as the complex and slightly broken Kanes. Jindabyne shows no clear demarcation between right and wrong. The true killer of the girl is ignored by the people of Jindabyne with those on the fishing trip being persecuted instead.
Water and the notion that much is concealed in what lies beneath the surface plays a prominent part in the film. The nature of the relationship between Claire and Stewart is subtly explored in the film. Claire’s own sanity is questioned as she battles demon’s trying to ascertain the truth. However, the viewer is constantly aware that they are only being shown a small part of a larger picture.
‘Free from cinematic embellishments, the film’s naturalness is very unusual.’
Jindabyne explores the differences between the genders. The taciturn Stewart and talkative Claire provide a stark contrast to one another. Stewart is unwilling to talk about the fishing trip and cannot understand why Claire is continually dragging up the past. While Claire cannot understand why such an event should not be discussed.
This is part of a larger dichotomy between the sexes. While the women say what is on their minds, regardless if what they say is hurtful or prejudiced, the men bottle it up until it leads to physical violence.
What makes Jindabyne so unique is the way the story unfolds. Free from cinematic embellishments, the film’s naturalness is very unusual. The acting is top quality and you are immediately sucked into the world of the characters as they are transformed by the events that happen to them.
The everyday evil of not taking action when it is truly needed is dealt with admirably and these are lessons that the viewer will take away as they are sucked into the world of Jindabyne. Either you deal with your past or it will deal with you.
Jindabyne is highly recommended. If you wish to read to read ‘So Much Water So Close To Home’ you can obtain it here in Short Cuts: Selected Stories. Raymond Carver: Collected Stories (Library of America) is a larger volume containing much of Carver’s work, including his poetry and short stories and is a riveting read.