Murder and small town life in the Outback

Murder, small town life and the Australian outback are the prevalent themes in Ray Lawrence’s first film since the critically lauded Lantana. Stewart (Gabriel Byrne) and his friends are on a fishing trip when he discovers the body of a dead woman. The gang continue the expedition as planned and only report their grim discovery upon its conclusion. Their return to Jindabyne finds them vilified by the local community for not acting sooner.

Despite murder being cinema’s most prominent dramatic exercise, Jindabyne focuses less on the circumstances of the incident and more on the differing reactions between the sexes. With deftly caught shots of nature, studious character examinations and a calm, hypnotic pacing Jindabyne could be accurately described as an inaction movie.

What makes Jindabyne so wonderfully engrossing is the sheer depth that bubbles under what is a fairly minimalist tale. It’s a strength heightened by Byrne and Laura Linney’s (as Stewart’s wife Claire) exemplary performances.

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