- Reviews Written:
Posted on 6/13/11 02:43 AM
When watching something like this you can't help but compare it to Animal Kingdom, a far superior film. Animal Kingdom was a super realistic look at lower class Australians and the criminal activities they get involved in, Snowtown is the same. The real difference is, that the characters in Animal Kingdom are superbly developed and three dimensional, whereas the characters in Snowtown, whilst looking very real and acting very real, just never really introduce themselves, their motives are way too simplistic.
The film follows the life of Jamie Vlassakis, a boy who lives in the run down suburb of Snowtown in Adelaide. After it is discovered in the neighbourhood that a neighbour from across the road has been forcing Jamie and his brothers to pose for inappropriate photos, a charismatic man named John Bunting shows up and helps the other locals drive the neighbour out of town. John quickly begins dating Jamie's mother and leads a local vigilante group who single out people who they suspect of being pedophiles and running them out of town as well. For those of you who don't know the true story of the Snowtown murders, they did not run them out of town, they killed them in very horrific ways.
Daniel Henshall gives an excellent performance as John, he's a scary character, but unfortunately he doesn't play the role any better than other psychotic performances I've seen in the past, he certainly is not as great as Ben Mendelsohn in Animal Kingdom, not even close. Lucas Pittaway does a realistic performance as Jamie, unfortunately it's nothing more than realistic, it's incredibly un-nuanced he's the same the whole way through and you never really sympathise with him as much as you should. The other actors are just the same, realistic but nothing more.
It's beautifully shot, the cinematography and the shaky-cam capture the brutality and the violence well, and if this film's aim was to make my skin crawl it achieved that well. The murder scenes will most likely give you nightmares, it's not a film for the faint of hearted. It goes for that feel I really love where there is minimal dialogue and it relies on poetic visuals, unfortunately it fails at creating poetic images. It achieves three good poetic visuals but they really seem out of place and the only thing it makes you feel in the end is uncomfortable.
The story is incredibly disjointed, there are some scenes in which you wonder why they are doing what there are doing, who the people they are associating with are and overall why half the scenes are in it. Like for example, there is one scene in which John talks to some disgustingly fat lady about something irrelevant and then in the next scene she takes off all her clothes and stands naked in front of him and then we never see her again, and you just think, what the fuck? What did that have to do with anything, it wasn't arousing and it added nothing and who the hell was that fat chick? They just get at a lot of things in this and don't follow up on them, it looks like it was made by someone with ADD.
Overall this movie makes little sense, they haven't dramatised it enough they just made it way too realistic. It has a lot of potential which it doesn't fulfill, but it will fill you with a sense of discomfort that will stay with you long after you have left the cinema.
I give this incredibly fucked-up movie 2.5 stars. I personally didn't like it, but a lot of people did so, maybe you should check it out and make up your own mind.