Race and sex touchy subjects for juicy Byrne role

Jindabyne

on April 27, 2007 by Richard Mowe
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Irish actor Gabriel Byrne gives one of the best performances of his career in an off-beat feature made in Australia by director Ray Lawrence, who was responsible for the well respected and award-winning Lantana. Byrne plays one of four men who come upon the body of an aboriginal woman in a river and decide not to report it until they get back from their fishing trip. From that premise Lawrence spins many threads including the reaction of the wives and girlfriends when the unrepentant quartet return home, the inherent racism of certain elements of Australian society and a lack of understanding of indigenous cultures, sexist male attitudes, sheer ignorance of the adopted homeland and all manner of other tensions lurking just below the surface.

In its stunning visual exploration of the New South Wales landscape and the community of the titular town, Lawrence seems to recall the breathtaking imagery of Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock, a seminal film from Down Under. In addition, he has assembled a consummate cast. Besides Byrne, Laura Linney also excels as his outraged wife, and there is an impressive contribution from Deborra-Lee Furness (Hugh Jackman's partner).

Jindabyne is such an unusually gripping experience that some may reach its conclusion feeling slightly cheated by its somewhat inconclusive ending. Make allowances because there's no denying its technical bravado and the haunting power of its subject. Distributor: Sony Classics
Cast: Laura Linney, Gabriel Byrne, Chris Haywood and Deborra-Lee Furness
Director: Ray Lawrence
Screenwriter: Beatrix Christian
Producer: Catherine Jaman
Genre: Thriller
Rating: R for disturbing images, language and some nudity
Running time: 120 min.
Release date: April 27, 2007 NY/LA

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