Small Town Murder, Big Consequences
Friends Stewart (Gabriel Byrne), Gregory (Chris Haywood), Carl (John Howard) and Billy (Simon Stone) having driven for miles and hiked for hours to get to their secret fishing spot. So when as soon as they arrive they find the body of a murdered girl floating in the river they decide to tether it to a tree to stop it floating away but carry on with their planned fishing trip rather than report it immediately. Their actions have a variety of consequences especially when it comes to Stewart's already strained relationship with his wife Claire (Laura Linney) who can't believe his callous actions. Feeling a need to make amends not only for his actions but problems in her own life she becomes obsessed with helping the family of the deceased girl.
Do you enjoy slow movies, clever movies but ones which are in no hurry to set things up? If the answer is yes then "Jindabyne" might appeal to you because is a slow movie which marches to its own beat, but that does make it hard work for those who prefer their movies to move quicker and put things in place quickly so that the rest of the movie can be the explorations. And for me "Jindabyne" was hard work because of the slowness which comes from having so much going on.
In many ways "Jindabyne" comes across as a confused movie because of everything which is going on. During the opening we witness an old man forcing a woman of the road, we then have the marital issues between Stewart and Claire as it is revealed she is pregnant and fears suffering the same depression she had after the birth of their son and there is much more. In fact the opening seems to be going nowhere as we get scenes of Stewart looking in the mirror at the grey hairs and then a classroom where the children watch an old tourist video. We also have a scene of a child smuggling a kitchen knife into school and this makes it feel like it is going to be a thriller and there is certainly an ominous feel. But it seems all over the place, too many ideas to be explored for its own good.
The truth is that "Jindabyne" isn't some thriller despite its thriller styling but a character study, a look at how what Stewart and his friends did affects a whole community and in particular the relationship he has with Claire. And as a character study it is an interesting movie with a lot of depth and some fantastic performances especially from Linney and Byrne. But because it is all over the place when it comes to the story and style it isn't easy to get into.
What this all boils down to is that "Jindabyne" didn't do it for me and found it hard going due to its thriller styling but character study storyline as well as its over indulgent set up which makes it slow going. But it is one of those movies which despite the issues is curiously fascinating and keeps you watching.