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Reviews & Ratings for
Jindabyne More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

its in the little details...

Author: waterwalker from Australia
22 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Saw this movie today; there were a number of things I liked about it.

Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne were both excellent in the leading roles, and gave their characters real complexity and depth.

This movie is one of those that doesn't give you many answers. Some viewers might find this frustrating. The solution to the mystery is clearly implied, though never explicitly stated.

The story as told in the movie takes in far more than the mystery that forms the heart of it, though. The way modern society constructs and negotiates political correctness is subtly explored. So are the different coping mechanisms people have in place for getting through trauma or grief, and the line between protection and telling the truth, and how the truth so often gets slanted with the best intentions.

This movie isn't Lantana, but a Lantana comes along only once in a blue moon.

Well worth seeing for people who like complex, subtle, character driven drama for their movie fare.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

I can't help it, I really dislike this film

Author: bruce-moreorless from Australia
10 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After thinking about Jindabyne for several days (and probably the best thing about the film is that it does merit some thought) I'm still not quite sure why I dislike it so much.

It's not that I don't appreciate Ray Lawrence's previous work. 'Bliss' was a well-made interpretation of the book, though both the film and the book have dated rather badly. 'Lantana' was a great film that helped to revive confidence in the Australian film industry. But now we have 'Jindabyne'.

In a way 'Jindabyne' is a logical progression of the themes explored in Lawrence's earlier work - the angst and dislocation of the well-educated middle class; for although 'Jindabyne' is concerned with mainly "working class" characters it's underlying themes are middle class themes, and not only are they middle class themes they are the themes of the bourgeois middle class.

This is perhaps the source of the disconnect that flawed the film for me; a disconnect which, ironically, is one of the film's major themes. No one in the film seems to sit well in the landscape, not even the Aborigines. None of the actors seem to sit well in their characters. The progression of the script does not sit well with the promise of the introductory scenes. I just didn't like where the film went, or more precisely the mish-mashed route that it took.

None of the characters in the film were particularly sympathetic, some of the acting was a little forced, the theme of the effect of the past on present circumstances and the need for reconciliation was clichéd and handled in a wishy-washy, hand-wringing manner. Many aspects of the plot development were not convincing. The film finished without any real resolution of the interpersonal and interracial themes it had raised. Even the crime at the centre of the film was not resolved. In fact the film literally tip-toed around the edges of the real crime, raising bourgeois chimeras that prevented me from connecting with it in any meaningful way.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Morbid and Polemic Study of Moral Aspects of Human Characters

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
31 January 2009

In the Australian town of Jindabyne, the former race champion Stewart Kane (Gabriel Byrne) works in a gas station with his partners and friends Carl (John Howard), Rocco (Stelios Yiakmis) and Billy (Simon Stone). His impassionate marriage with the unstable Claire (Laura Linney) has an unresolved issue since Claire left him when their son Tom (Sean Rees-Wemyss) was born. The great passion of Stewart is fishing and he organizes a weekend fishing trip in a remote river with his three great friends. On Friday afternoon, they park the car and hike and camp in the spot; while fishing, Stewart finds the naked dead body of an aboriginal young woman floating on the cold water. Stewart ties the leg of the woman to an arbor and they spend the weekend fishing. On Sunday afternoon, they return to the parking area and report their finding to the police. When the press releases the information, their public and private lives are deeply affected and the disturbed Claire questions Stewart's attitude while trying to help and apologize with the family of the dead aborigine.

"Jindabyne" has a storyline of great potential, with a morbid and polemic study of moral aspects of human (and consequently flawed) characters. Unfortunately the screenplay is not good and looses the focus of the main storyline entwined with many parallel and unresolved plots of supporting characters. Why Caylin-Calandria has such weird and morbid behavior? (It seems that because of the death of her mother, but it is never clear). The character of the old man that killed the aborigine is not developed. Why Claire became dysfunctional with the birth of her son? Why Stewart is still married with Claire? The attitude of Claire against her husband is annoying and in Brazil we have a saying that states "with a friend (or in this case wife) like that, Stewart does not need enemies". Anyway, the locations in Australia are stunning, the cast has great acting and it is worth watching this movie. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): Not Available

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Dangerous and hard drama

Author: Polaris_DiB from United States
20 December 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The movie begins with a man, obviously creepy and disturbed, running down an Aborigine woman near Jindabyne, Australia, with intent to rape and kill. Of course, any description of this movie makes it as clear as possible: this is not a thriller, and the goal is not to find the perpetrator. Rather, the action is set around the town of Jindabyne after a group of fishermen (led by Gabriel Byrne) find the body, leave it for a day longer to go fishing, and then set off a scandal that threatens to tear their families, and even the town, apart.

The fact that this movie even manages to keep that dramatic tension as high as it is supposed to be is indication of the powerful directing of Ray Lawrence. From the get-go, it feels as if every piece of dialog and every minutia of the mise-en-scene matters--even when it doesn't. The film is packed with symbolism, but the symbolism is not shown in close-up or importance-lighting... it's just there.

The film is, in fact, very hard to watch because from the detached perspective of the viewer, a lot of what the people do is absolutely hateful and disturbing. However, it's real, and takes the most limited amount of putting one's self into the shoes of the characters to understand completely why they do the things they do. It may be frustrating to watch all these people hurt each other with their misperceptions and their anger, yet the characters are so well drawn that it's easy to see where they're coming from. This movie builds itself around their personalities, which is hard enough to do in any medium, but also does it with the full promise that the murder-mystery aspect will never be resolved for the viewer--a dangerous proposition in a world where people require the tidy.


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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Moving and thought provoking Aussie drama

Author: ian wierenga ( from Australia
13 June 2008

I just don't think some people understand the point of this film. I keep reading reviews on this site, giving average scores, with the review saying things such as 'What was the point of that scene?', or 'What was the significance of the character names?'. You're missing the point. Jindabyne is a film about life, about circumstance, about the choices we make and about relationships. If you start pulling apart every scene of a movie, you end up missing the bigger picture. This film tackles real Australian issues, of 'Indigenous Australia' and 'White Australia's' reaction to the Aboriginal people, of the sometimes unemotional, even (seemingly) uncaring, reactions of men. It isn't really important what a character is called, or if a scene doesn't move everything along. Ray Lawrence's films are more a musing on life and the choices we make, if you're looking for an action-packed blockbuster look elsewhere.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: (gsygsy) from london uk
12 February 2008

Australia looks beautiful. But, just as the old town of Jindabyne lies hidden beneath the waters, in the hearts of its inhabitants lie secrets...

This is a compelling film, full of terrific scenes, excellently acted, and profoundly disturbing. The only problem for me lies in the erratic recording of some - actually quite a bit - of the dialogue: whole sections conversation are muddied in mumble, and there was clearly a decision taken not to do any post-sync work. It's a shame. The dialogue that is audible is very good indeed.

Definitely worth watching, though, not least for another superb performance by Laura Linney.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Good Aussie film that loses its way down the road of political correctness

Author: Rupert17 from Australia
11 June 2007

As an exploration of a shaky marriage sinking further into the mire as a result of a particular 'incident' where several fisherman find a dead Aboriginal girl in a river and defer reporting their find to the authorities with predictable moral consequences, then Ray Lawrence's Jindabyne succeeds very well. As a commentary on racist attitudes and the even more shaky road to reconciliation between Whites and Blacks in Australia then I think Jindabyne falls well short and the denouement is quite laughable.

Laura Linney's portrayal of a fish-out-of-water American in the Australian landscape attempting to come to grips with her failing marital relationship and anxiety-ridden motherhood is superb. Linney really knows how to convey tension from the screen to the audience. Gabe Byrne as Linney's husband and continual source of disappointment to her is always good and the rest of the cast is fine. I know that multi-layering can raise the quality of a film above the routine, but in this case Lawrence would have done better to concentrate on what basis a relationship stands or falls, rather than using this theme as a way of making a political statement. In doing so, his characters lost their humanity.

Nowhere near as good as his previous effort Lantana.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Complex interaction of different personalities when morality is questioned

Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
31 March 2007

This film is about a group of 4 men who discovers a dead body during a fishing trip. They continue fishing instead of reporting it to the police. This sparks outrage in the village, and the 4 men have to deal with the aftermath.

The character development is excellent. Each character is unique and different. Laura Linney deals with the tragedy by doing good deeds to redeem herself, while Gabriel Byrne deals with it by denial. The little girl, with an unfortunately unusual name, is provocatively antisocial. Billy is the histrionic one. Each character is different from another, and the interaction of them in the film is portrayed beautifully and convincingly in the film.

Laura Linney does the best job in the film. She is so convincing in her genuine attempt to redeem her husband's wrongdoings. The frustration that results from her husband's denial is painfully portrayed. The scene where she throws the vase at the ground is also a memorable display of emotion.

A comment says the film is dull. I am afraid I do not agree. This film is about the portrayal of different personalities when morality is in danger. The characters are so intriguing and complex, that just this alone makes viewing worthwhile.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A masterpiece

Author: jrwilmott from London England
20 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This films stirs up those nagging thoughts anchored in feelings about our place in the world. One single failure to do the right thing can be what defines who you are in the eyes of those who live in your community who have hardly shared a few informal greetings. Worse, those who know you best feel badly let down by a single act that really can't be understood by you or them. We all hope that it is an act of heroism that might be our legacy.

This film has a casual greatness. It grinds out the message in an almost documentary style about the unwillingness of the protagonists to confront themselves and the resulting fallout on those around them. There is no Hollywood "closure" here for the victim's family. I may never watch this film again, so many scenes hit hard, or stir up those feelings that we are loath to acknowledge, but I urge you to watch it. It really does go places that few movies take you.

A final word. I can't think of a more courageous actress than Laura Linney, who has taken that lonely road of tackling truly difficult parts in one project after another with gritty integrity and intelligence.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Highlights all that's wrong with Australian movies

Author: Guy Stevens from Australia
16 January 2013

It's been a while since I've seen this movie, but it deserves a review for highlighting all that's wrong with the Australian film industry. To make a movie in Australia, you all but have to obtain government film funding, which is decided by bureaucrats that prove the old adage: those that can, do, those that can't become film bureaucrats. These depressed, politically correct, failed filmmakers, a product of government-backed film schools that churn out thousands of like-minded confrères, favour social realism and fund topics such as drug addiction, domestic violence, racial intolerance and rural horror. Hence the litany of depressing, ugly portraits of Australia, which are to tourism what cyanide is to fine dining.

Jindabyne is typically ponderous and depressing. It highlights feminist and indigenous themes, a prerequisite for funding it seems, culminating in ludicrously irrelevant scenes of traditional Aboriginal mourning. Saddest of all, this was hailed at the time as a pinnacle of Australian cinema, the critics as delusional as the government-suckled film industry. The public voted with its box office dollars, and largely avoided this movie, along with most of the dreary drivel produced in the last, lost decade of Australian filmmaking.

So, I'd avoid this movie and see Robert Altman's Short Cuts. Not even an original plot line, Jindabyne is based on a Raymond Carver short story, which Short Cuts handles infinitely better.

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