Today: May 20, 2024

Snowtown DVD

Snowtown; a disturbing socio-realist study of sociopathic behaviour is one of the great films about one of the most appalling crimes in recent memory.

Snowtown; a
disturbing socio-realist study of sociopathic behaviour is one of the great
films about one of the most appalling crimes in recent memory.
Based on the
real events of the Snowtown murders that took place in an impoverished town
outside of Adelaide, Australia, during the 1990s, Justin Kurzel’s debut feature creeps and unnerves in expertly
crafted fashion.

Told through the eyes of Jamie Vlassakis, an abused teenager
who yearns to escape the barren and disenfranchised suburb of Snowtown, whose
life dramatically changes when the charismatic, but fearsome, John Bunting
enters his family. Jamie is immediately drawn to Bunting, who acts as something
of a father figure towards him, and initially finds salvation in his guidance. Soon
enough, however, Jamie finds that John has something incomprehensible in mind
and is pulled into his web of destruction.

From the very first scene John appears in, something is
obviously not right. Daniel Henshall plays John with such an
icy menace that there is an unhinged atmosphere that seeps through the screen. And
even though John proclaims his personal disgust for paedophiles and homosexuals,
his grooming of Jamie as an accomplice in his heinous plans are nothing short
of the tactics of some of the people he despises.

Along with Michael
’s Henry in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, John Bunting is one
of the most terrifying figures to ever appear on screen. Not only is this down
to Henshall explosive performance, but also Kurzel’s assured direction. Like
some of Haneke’s or even Markus Schleinzer’s recent debut film
Michael, the realistic style – this is a true event after all – adds much to
the overall enduring effect the film has on the audience. And because it feels
so real, – and there isn’t a detachment between screen and audience because
obviously ‘performed’ or stylised way of filmmaking – the result is infinitely
more haunting.

Gruesome and startling throughout, Snowtown follows in the
footsteps of great disturbing masterpieces such as American History X and has a tone similar to Sean Durkin’s creep fest Martha
Marcy May Marlene
. And like Elizabeth
’s performance as the detached Martha, Lucas Pittaway is equally as engrossing as the confused and
distanced Jamie. Does he want revenge on those who abused him? Is he a victim
of John’s grooming? Could he have stopped it all? These are the questions that
Snowtown leaves you with and is the reason you won’t be able to get rid of it
so easily.

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