Stewart (Gabriel Byrne, The Usual Suspects ) and his buddies, Carl (John
Howard), Rocco (Stelios Yiakmis) and Billy (Simon Stone) find a dead girl floating in their favorite fishing spot. Instead of immediately rushing to the authorities, the men tether the woman's corpse to a tree with fishing line so she won't float away and continue with their weekend excursion.
It's late on Sunday when the men return to the quaint little town of Jindabyne. Stewart silently enters his home to find his wife, Claire (Laura Linney, You Can Count on Me ), and child slumbering. Early the next morning their young son, Tom (Sean Rees-Wemyss), crawls into their bed and announces the arrival of the police.
Claire is furious that Stewart waited to come forward. She is stunned by her husband's slow reaction. She can't understand how her husband could not have lifted the body from the water and covered her, instead of leaving her naked and floating in the river.
All the characters are haunted by their actions, affecting Stewart and each of his associates in different ways.
Lawrence and playwright-cum-screenwriter Beatrix Christian transform Raymond Carver's haunting short story “So Much Water, So Close to Home,” into a moody and suspenseful film. There is a beautiful, lyrical quality about Jindabyne . It's a layered film, dense and complex.
Jindabyne posits that everyone has a mystery beneath the surface. However, its central theme belies its greatest weakness. There were too many mysteries drifting about.
The audience must decipher these mysteries without much help from the filmmaker. It doesn't wrap up the story with a neat little bow, but leaves you longing for more.
Jindabyne's Gabriel Byrne weighs in on the importance of community, the liberating landscape of Australia and why you should never give him a fishing pole.
“This is a film about men and women, and how they live in such separate universes, sometimes separate moral universes. The way the women judge the rape and murder and the finding of the body in this film and the way they react to it is very different from the way the men react. The loss of life seems to affect the women in a much more visceral and profound way.
The film is haunting because it makes you think about a lot of assumptions you take for granted. For example, we believe that the cornerstone of any democracy is that we have a system whereby innocent people go free and the guilty are punished.
Here's a film that says the guilty guy goes free, and the innocent are punished. That is so true of so many events that we read about in the paper.
It questions our notion of what the moral order is. It questions the notion of what a community is.
We live in a time when communities have become less and less important. I come from a country where community is tremendously important. It's important to know your neighbor.
The sense of belonging and being connected, there's a strong sense of that in the film. As communities become more and more fractured, and as the Internet, television and technology takes over more of our lives. It looks at how we need to strengthen our communities and our ties with each other and look out for each other.
There's something about being in the vastness of a landscape like Australia that really makes you feel how vulnerable you are, how insignificant you are. How powerful a personality a landscape can have.
You come to this place and you look around and you can see 360 degrees of earth and sky. It lets you know, in a way, how insignificant you are in this world, and how free landscape can actually make you feel. How calming landscape can feel.
I am probably the worst person to ever take up a fishing rod. If I achieved anything in this film it's to make me look like a fisherman. I nearly took the cameraman's eye out with a hook.
Another time I caught a fish and I got so freaked that I let the rod go down the stream. I'm very proud of my fishing in this.”