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Rated M

Jindabyne is another brilliantly gripping film from director Ray Lawrence (Bliss and Lantana).

Based on a short story by Raymond Carver, every detail of this film was crafted with precision and poise.

Set in small town New South Wales, Jindabyne follows four friends on their annual men’s fishing weekend. On their first day, they find the naked and battered body of a young Indigenous woman floating in the river. With the sun setting, they decide it is too late to hike back to their car and alert police, so they spend the next day fishing and return home with their catch as well as some bad news for the local authorities.

Their actions reverberate around the small town and rattle the foundations of their relationships with their families, partners and each other. Still unsure they have done anything wrong, the men each deal with the situation and their guilt differently, as do their wives and girlfriends.

Though a universal story, Lawrence has brilliantly placed it in an Australian landscape and reinforced Australian issues.

Each character was stunningly acted (including the two children) and the aches of genuine people and families were portrayed in truthful ways. The magical landscape was a perfect backdrop for a story that goes much further than a murder mystery.

It delves into the deep seed of emotion in times of ultimate stress and the result is unforgettable.

Jindabyne is perhaps the best Australian film of the year.

Reviewed by Mardi Lumsden