Romper Stomper (1993)
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
User Ratings: 43,680
Movie InfoThis controversial drama (which earned an NC-17 rating in the U.S.) was a major box-office success in its native Australia, and it made an overnight star of its leading man, Russell Crowe. Hando (Crowe) is a member of a gang of racist skinheads who lash out with violence against the growing number of Asian immigrants settling in the country. While Hando and his partner Davey (Daniel Pollock) lead a bunch of brutal, half-bright thugs, they have convinced themselves that what they do is the noble work of saving Australia for Australians (or at least the white Australians who drove the aborigines into the outback). Into this milieu comes Gabe (Jacqueline McKenzie), a troubled young woman who suffers from epilepsy and was raised in a sexually abusive environment. Gabe becomes something of a gang moll, dividing her time (and her sexual favors) between Hando and Davey, generating considerable tension between them. When the gang's favorite bar is purchased by a group of Vietnamese immigrants, Hando and Davey organize an all-out attack, little imagining that the Asians are ready and able to defend themselves. Romper Stomper was released in America in both its original, uncut form, and in an edited version that earned an R rating from the MPAA. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Romper Stomper
The cheap 'message' of the ending fails to salvage a film that at best is well-meant but misguided, at worst, flashy and garbled.
Exploits the frustration, anger and violence of a despicable subculture while excusing the glorification of its hate aesthetic as necessary "reporting."
It's merely another violent art house picture, slumming modishly in the world of psycho-personalities, and exhibiting only occasional flashes of originality.
Crowe is powerful and terrifying, and the erotic chemistry between Pollock and McKenzie is no less intense and enriched by strong performances by both.
For all the dynamism and drive, the film walks a fine line between exposure and outright exploitation -- wherein lies much of its appeal.
Crowe first shows his star quality
Given his formidable presence and equal talent, it was only a matter of time before New Zealand-born, Australian-raised Russell Crowe made the mainstream American breakthrough he enjoyed with Gladiator.
Romper Stomper is a convincing depiction of subculture, and one that dares to present these figures as real, troubled individuals rather than stereotypes.
The film [has] a raw, sometimes discomfiting immediacy... The cast attacks their roles with matching intensity.
I like to think of it as a fury-filled documentary on how hate is not just an American preoccupation. Remember, this is the way things are -- deal with it.
At times very powerful and thought-provoking film, but this impression might be diluted with some of less fortunate creative decisions.
Perhaps writer-director Geoffrey Wright meant to show this motley crew as doomed from the start, but this obvious dead-end attitude also makes the group's repulsive antics all the more predictable.
While the film often draws comparisons to A Clockwork Orange, Romper Stomper doesn't carry the gravity that the Malcolm McDowell classic does.
Audience Reviews for Romper Stomper
This is a grim and gritty slice-of-life look at the exploits and downfall of a rowdy gang of neo-Nazi skinhead punks in suburban Melbourne.
Starring Russell Crowe, this is the film that elevated from the position of just another up and coming actor with a music career on the side to international star...which in turn then eventually lead him to major notice a few years later when Hollywood came calling. As the gang's leader Hando, he's great. You could argue that this role is just a typical attention bait sort of thing, especially when it allows for some real histrionics, but he pulls it off well, and is pretty convincing and chilling. Daniel Pollock appears as Hndo's right hand man Davey, and Jacqueline McKenzie is Gabe- the troubled junkie that becomes the object of their affection.
The movie is fairly light on hard plot, but it's not totally aimless. It doesn't really give too much insight into the seeds of racial hatred, or have extensive character development, but as a glimpse into the Australian version of this particular subculture it is very successful.
The film can be quite chaotic and unpleasant, but it's fitting, and the film uses mise-en-scene to great effect to really make this stark and dark wasteland come alive. Seriously, the film plays out like a documentary at times, which I think is one of it's strengths. It does actually have character development, but it seems to mostly uses the neo-Nazi angle as just a thing instead of exploring it fully along the lines of something like American History X.
For a low-budget non-U.S. indie though, it is a decent piece of work. It's rough, but ultimately saved by good cinematography, good production/costume design, and great performances, especially from Crowe.
You've never seen anything like it.
Crazy crazy movie but a good one. Lots of fights and crazy skinheads doing some crazy stuff. The film is as strong and devilish as it comes. If you like American History and Animal Kingdom you'll probably like this one too. If you want to see an excellent historical lesson about hate and how it destroys, see Romper Stomper.
Nazi skinheads in Melbourne take out their anger on local Vietnamese, who are seen as threatening racial purity. Finally the Vietnamese have had enough and confront the skinheads in an all-out confrontation, sending the skinheads running. A woman who is prone to epileptic seizures joins the skins' merry band, and helps them on their run from justice, but is her affliction also a sign of impurity?
A horrible yet endearing film about people in pain. The neo-nazis are shown in a bad light which they most certainly should be, but the acting of some of the members make me feel sad for them that they have fallen into this path. Great performances and an amazing final scene.
The equivalent of American History X, without the redemption aspect. I liked that this feels like an even more realistic version of A Clockwork Orange in terms of an impoverished urban lifestyle, in which gangs rule. Russell Crowe is unbelievably convincing as the head honcho Skinhead; his reign of terror in this is worth watching alone. I wasn't crazy about the final showdown, but I guess it had to be done in order to be released. The visual style is wonderfully grainy and almost as deranged as its hero.
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