'Night falls. In a lonely valley called the Sink, four people prepare for a quiet evening. Then in his orchard, Murray Jaccob sees a moving shadow. Acorss the swamp, his neighbour Ronnie watches her lover leave and feels her baby roll inside her. And on the verandah of the Stubbses’ house, a small dog is torn screaming from its leash by something unseen. Nothing will ever be the same again. ' (Publication summary)
In an isolated valley, four unrelated people, each with their own loneliness and uncertainties, are brought together when a mysterious creature begins killing local livestock.
Based on Tim Winton's novel, this film was low budget but highly regarded by critics.
The Thylacine or 'Tasmanian Tiger' today is a well-known and well-loved icon of the Australian world. Although it is probable that the species had already disappeared from mainland Australia by 1788, it was still present in Tasmania when settlement of the island began in 1803. As the colony expanded, this largest surviving carnivorous marsupial came to be seen as such a formidable threat to the pastoral economy that bounty schemes were introduced to eradicate it. Since the last captive thylacine died in 1936, however, it has become a symbol of Australian and more specifically Tasmanian identity. The heraldic crests of several towns in Tasmania feature at least one thylacine as supporter and the State Tasmania has two. It also appears on licence plates and until quite recently graced the labels of the state's best-selling beer.' Nor are all Australians reconciled with the official view that the 'Tassie tiger' should now be considered irreversibly lost. Every year, there are several claimed sightings throughout Australia and thousands of dollars have been put towards the quest for the thylacine, either to try to catch it alive or to clone it back to life using DNA material extracted from museum specimens. Tourist shops cater to thylacine nostalgia by selling T-shirts, magnets, and key-rings adorned with tigers and the caption 'I want to believe' as well as mugs and caps that simply read: 'I'm alive'. Such a reversal in the perceptions of the thylacine, from colonist's bane to national icon and naturalist's grail constitutes a striking example of the complex and contradictory uses mythical constructions of otherness have been put to in settler communities.' (Introduction)
'The psychology of guilt as debt is a recurrent theme in Tim Winton’s fiction. A number of scholars have recently examined the theme of haunting in Winton’s Cloudstreet (1991), arguing that the ghosts which appear in the story represent an engagement with Australia’s colonial past, in particular the mistreatment of its Indigenous peoples. The latest of these, Michael R. Griffiths, highlights the shortcomings of Winton’s treatment of this theme, contending that Winton’s text might be read as a kind of excuse, in the name of naïveté, for colonial abuses. Given that Nicholas Birns (among others) has noted a new maturity in Winton’s work from The Turning (2004) onward, a fresh examination of such themes in Winton’s work is warranted. This essay does so through a reading of the short story ‘Aquifer’. Examining the story’s treatment of the psychology of guilt and debt, the essay explores how Winton tries to resolve the moral and historical problems he raises in regard to Australian culture through the ethical figure of the neighbour, drawn in particular from the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan. By showing the centrality of the neighbour to Winton’s work through references to In the Winter Dark (1988), Cloudstreet, Breath (2009), ‘Aquifer,’ and a newspaper editorial by Winton on the humanitarian treatment of refugees, this paper seeks to provide a new critical window through which to understand his evolving ethical ideas about Australia’s past and future.'
'Tim Winton's female characters show a strong tendency towards self-threatening behaviors, transience and ferocity. This is evident in the violent deaths of Jewel in An Open Swimmer, Maureen in Shallows, Ida's murder in In the Winter Dark [...], Tegwyn's self-harm in That Eye, the Sky, Dolly's alcoholism in Cloudstreet, Eva Sanderson's Hutchence-lookalike death in Breath and, obviously, the ephemerality of mothers in Dirt Music...' (96)
Explores Tim Winton's treatment of female characters in his fiction and their linkage with images of transience and death.