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Running Time:
2 hours

Rating: R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.

Rating Explanation:
for disturbing images, language and some nudity.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
A thoughtful, psychodrama that's both powerful and unsettling.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Deleted scenes; Making of Jindabyne

Laura Linney ... Claire Kane
Gabriel Byrne ... Stewart Kane
Chris Haywood ... Gregory
Deborra-Lee Furness ... Jude
John Howard ... Carl
Leah Purcell ... Carmel
Stelios Yiakmis ... Rocco
Eva Lazzaro ... Caylin-Calandria
Sean Rees-Wemyss ... Tom

This is the second feature film adaptated from the novel "So Much Water, So Close to Home." It was previously made by Robert Altman as "Short Cuts" in 1993. This thoughtful version was directed by Ray Lawrence ("Lantana").

Set in Jindabyne, a rural high country town in New South Wales, Stewart (Gabriel Byrne "The Usual Suspects"), is the owner of a local gas station, married to Claire (Laura Linney "Kinsey"), his American wife. Theirs is a loving but somewhat fragile marriage, scarred by Claire's earlier bout with postpartum depression, following the birth of their 7-year-old son, Tom (Sean Rees-Wemyss).

One weekend, Stewart leaves his wife and son for a few days of fly-fishing in the nearby Snowy Mountains with his three friends, Carl (John Howard ), Rocco (Stelios Yiakmis), and Billy (Simon Stone). While fishing, they find the body of a murdered Aboriginal girl (Tatea Reilly) floating in the river, however, they choose to ignore the interruption, rather than immediately reporting their grim discovery to the police. Their seeming indifference to the victim, outrages the entire community, especially Claire, who's sickened by Stewart's inability to grasp the seriousness of his behavior. He, in turn, can't understand why Claire won't let it drop and get on with their lives. But as Stewart and his friends struggle with the consequences of their actions, Claire awkwardly tries to make amends to the victim's hostile family.

Blame and guilt splinter the community, with the tension compounded by the fact that the victim was Aboriginal, as is Rocco's girlfriend, Carmel (Leah Purcell). Director Ray Lawrence expertly layers on small scenes of disquiet, hinting at emotions buried deep beneath the surface. Such is the legitimacy of the interplay between the characters that when tempers flare or composure short-circuits. the drama feels uncomfortably real.

Laura Linney's remarkable talent for mixing strength and vulnerability into a single character makes Claire hugely sympathetic, even as she akwardly blunders about trying to make things right with the relatives of the dead girl. And Deborra-Lee Furness is outstanding in a supporting role as the Aboriginal matriarch bringing up the devastated child (Eva Lazzaro) of her dead daughter.

Beautifully revealing its Australian high country landscape, Ray Lawrence's gripping psychodrama may dissapoint some audiences leaving them feeling slightly cheated by its somewhat inconclusive ending, but there's no doubt that the film's haunting power makes it well worth seeing.

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