From watching the opening few minutes of “Jindabyne”, Ray Lawrence’s third directorial work, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is yet another serial killer movie. Fifteen minutes in, however, you would realise that this is far from the truth. This isn’t a film about a depraved killer’s sickening acts of sex and violence on young women. This is a thoughtful, rounded meditation of how death can affect people, and the choices we make because of it. An in-depth analysis of this theme follows when a group of fishermen discover a body of a young woman floating in a river. Instead of reporting the body right away, they decide to tie it up and carry on with their expedition. On their return to the main town, they find themselves shunned by their wives and neighbours. Why didn’t they call the police when they found the body? Why did they wait days later before you notified anyone? How could they do such a selfish thing? These question press for answers from both the characters onscreen and the audience watching.
A wife of one of the fishermen, Claire (brought to life by a career-topping performance by Laura Linney) is deeply troubled by her husband’s actions, and makes bold moves to paper over the wound that this act of disregard has inflicted on the local community.We know who the killer is from the outset. We are not invited to play a “did the butler do it?” guessing game. Instead, with the controlled use of slowly evolving character development, we are shown an example of how powerful a medium such as film can really be. And it features one of the best endings to a film I have ever seen.
Jindabyne (2006), directed by Ray Lawrence, is released in the UK on DVD by Revolver Entertainment, Certificate 15.