Snowtown (7/10)


Australia's most infamous crime story.


Based on true events, 16 year-old Jamie falls in with his mother's new boyfriend and his crowd of self-appointed neighborhood watchmen, a relationship that leads to a spree of torture and murder.

Title Snowtown
Director Justin Kurzel
Director of Photography Adam Arkapaw
Runtime 1 h 59 min
Certification 18
Release Date 19 May 2011
Tagline Australia's most infamous crime story.
IMDb Id tt1680114

John Bunting is Australia’s worst serial killer, convicted for 11 murders he committed between 1992 and 1999 (a 12th could not be proven). These murders took place mostly in the suburbs of Adelaide, but the bodies were discovered some 150km away in Snowtown, hence the name of the movie (internationally released under the title ‘The Snowtown Murders’).

Based on these true events, Snowtown is told from the perspective of 16 year old Jamie Vlassakis (Lucas Pittaway), who is emotionally stunted by a life in the underbelly of Australian suburbia, suffering a life that is so bleak and depressing that he cannot find any way to even begin to try to fight or escape from excesses including pedophaelic abuse and incestuous rape.

When John Bunting (Daniel Henshall) comes into his mum’s life, he seems to take on the role of protector as he bonds with Jamie by having him help butcher a few kangaroos and then together they smear its blood all over the pedophaelic neighbour’s house and drench his sofa in the animal blood and innards.

Bunting slowly tightens his grip on Jamie’s family, and Jamie in particular becomes an unwilling but more and more deeply involved participant in Bunting’s plans. As he realises that Bunting won’t even shy away from murder, Jamie still can’t help but get sucked in ever more deeply.

It is an incredibly depressing and grim reality that is created in the movie, and the fact that it is based on true events makes it much worse. Henshall plays a great Bunting, who is a special kind of psychopath as he loves to be the centre of attention and leader of the pack. He finds the people he can manipulate and uses and abuses them to achieve his plans.

It is a very gripping film; it is slow moving and only gets bleaker as it progresses, and while it doesn’t shy away from showing some of the gory details of some of the murders, that isn’t it’s primary focus. The movies main weakness I think is that it doesn’t really give any insight in what drove Bunting; not that there likely is going to a sensible explanation for such a deranged mind as that of a serial killer’s, but even a sick mind may have its reasons or logic. That aspect is hardly touched upon which is a bit of a shame.

But in terms of film-making, it is absolutely intriguing for the full 2 hours.



Snowtown (7/10)
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