Linney is excellent—by far the best actor in this movie.  Byrne does a decent job, but has little nuance.  He spends most of the film looking very, very depressed.  Other actors are hit or miss, with some obvious overacting.

It seems, from the DVD featurette, that the filmmakers were trying to inject the film with deep spiritual meaning.  Judging from the ongoing references to Native spirituality, they clearly wanted to convey Aboriginal beliefs in spirits and the supernatural.  Unfortunately, they seem to have gotten carried away with this motif, especially as it pertains to the film’s imagery.  Of course, the cinematography in this film is stunning—one of the highlights.  But its portent undertones simply do not work.  They detract from the storytelling.

As a result, you can’t help feeling depressed after watching this film.  The same way you feel while watching it, come to think of it.

DVD EXTRAS:

  • “The Process” featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Trailers

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol:  Characters smoke and drink (sometimes excessively) throughout.  In one scene, a young child brings drugs (pills) to school but is reprimanded.
  • Language/Profanity:  Strong, including numerous instances of the f- word.
  • Occult:  Various references to and warnings about “the spirits” and the way that they can harm or help a person; Native American imagery, rites and culture, including an extended funeral scene with numerous Native American rituals.
  • Sexual Content/Nudity:  Several scenes with female nudity, including prolonged shots of upper female nudity.  One scene where husband caresses wife in a sexual manner.
  • Violence:  Man lays in wait for woman in several scenes then flags her down.  Later, woman is found dead.  This scenario is repeated twice in the film.  Child brings knife to school.  Children kill several small animals (off-screen) without conscience.  Man finds dead body, which is bloodied and seen in several scenes.  Man ties dead body to a tree by the ankle.  Later, body is seen in morgue, where coroner reveals that the strong cut the leg “to the bone.”  Men throw rocks through windows, shout and insult others.