Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Snowtown Murders [2011]

The gritty and brutal Ausie kitchen-sink drama The Snowtown Murders is an intensely harrowing tale of a real-life serial-killer. The film’s protagonist is Jamie (Lucas Pittaway), an introverted teenager living in urban decrepitude with his working class mother (Louise Harris) and his brothers. When the pudgy, friendly, charming, outspoken and seemingly upstanding John Bunting (Daniel Henshall) arrives in their lives, the shy and soft-spoken Jamie immediately gets drawn to him. And when he muscles a closet pedophile out of the neighbourhood, he becomes popular too. But, as it turns out, beneath his cheerful veneer, he is a cold-blooded murderer who, with the help of a couple of low-lives and using his venomous desire of ridding the society of its slimy underbelly as a moral defense, satisfies his hunger for blood and a right-wing social order. His vigilante system of cleansing the society’s dirty linen was akin to Tavis Bickle in Taxi Driver. Though we never get to know who he really is, the film somehow managed to get us acquainted with this frightening individual, chillingly performed by Henshall. By the time the impressionable Jamie begins to realize what he has unwittingly become a part of, it is, as it usually always is, too late. The brilliant photography, using a combination of extreme close-ups and stunning panoramic shots, nicely juxtaposed the bleak socioeconomic environ and the disturbing content. The gradual manner in which the so-called moral line is blurred, and eventually shattered, made this a compelling, if tad alienating, watch. Though tonally and stylistically very different, it could serve as a companion piece to Imamura’s Vengeance is Mine.

Director: Justin Kurzel
Genre: Drama/Crime Drama/Biopic
Language: English
Country: Australia

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