Jindabyne, in the southeast section of New South Wales, was moved to its current site from its original site upon the building of a hydroelectric dam, the resulting reservoir, Lake Jindabyne, which now sits atop the original townsite. Among its residents are a group of friends who socialize together: married Stewart and Claire, a service station owner/former race car driver and a pharmacist respectively, and their adolescent son Tommy; married Carl and Jude, who have been guardians to their adolescent granddaughter Caylin-Calandria, Tommy's friend and disruptive classmate, ever since her mother's passing; Rocco and his new aborigine girlfriend, Carmel, a teacher at Tommy and Caylin-Calandria's school; and young parents Billy and Elissa, Billy who works casually as a mechanic for Stewart. Despite Stewart and Claire loving each other, there has long been disharmony in their household. Claire left for eighteen months following Tommy's birth due to post-partum depression. Then, Stewart's ...Written by
The 'P' plate that is taken by the murderer from the young girl's concealed vehicle, is one of Australia's provisional licence placards. A person who has just got their licence is on P plates for 3 years and have certain restrictions. See more »
The telephone number on the door of Gregory's, the electrician, Land Rover starts with '70'. This cannot be a Jindabyne telephone number as they start with '64' in that part of N.S.W., Australia. (Note that the code '70' is a special prefix for movie use. It is issued by the Australian Media and Communications Aurtority). See more »
We don't step over bodies in order to enjoy our leisure activities. You're a pack of bloody idiots. I'm ashamed of you. The whole town's ashamed of you.
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I was a big fan of Ray Lawrence's 2001 film "Lantana," and was eager to see how he would handle a screen adaptation of a short story from one of my favorite writers, Raymond Carver. I'm not sure I like what he's done with the source material.
In the story, "So Much Water So Close to Home," four men on a fishing trip discover the body of a dead woman floating in the river. Rather than report their finding to the police immediately (this was in the days before cell phones), the men finish their trip and notify police after their weekend vacation. When the wife of one of them finds out how callously, in her eyes, her husband behaved, a rift develops between them, and the wife begins to question how much she actually knows about the man she married. In typical Carver fashion, the story is unsettling and inconclusive; there aren't heroes and there aren't villains, just everyday people dealing with the stuff of life. More than anything, the story served as an illustration of the difference between men and women and how they communicate.
In "Jindabyne," the basics of the Carver story are retained, but Lawrence has filled out the film with numerous subplots that expand the story to feature film length. The simplicity of the story can't sustain this, and its power is therefore diluted. Laura Linney plays the wife, Claire, and Gabriel Byrne her husband, Stuart. The screenplay fills out their back stories with marital tension and mental illness so that the discovery of the dead girl serves more as a catalyst for unearthing a rot that was already there. Lawrence also adds a racial dynamic to the film; the dead girl was an aboriginal Australian, and her family insist that the white men would have behaved differently had they discovered a white girl. In the Carver story, we see things only from Claire's and Stuart's point of view; in "Jindabyne," the discovery becomes an issue that nearly tears the small town apart, and it just feels like the reaction is out of all proportion. I will say in the movie's defense that I could have missed much of the point due to a lack of understanding about Australian, and especially aboriginal, cultures.
The thing I liked least about "Jindabyne" was the inclusion of a creepy serial killer who we know is responsible for the girl's death. His presence is unnecessary, and I think the enigmatic nature of Carver's original story is served better by never knowing who the girl was or how she died.
For a much better screen treatment of the same story, rent Robert Altman's "Short Cuts," in which this tale is intertwined with several other Carver stories to much greater effect.
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