A film that opens with a bleakly-filtered family setting in suburban Adelaide which is very reminiscent in look and feel to ‘Animal Kingdom‘. After an early unsettling scene, John (Daniel Henshall) arrives and appears to the father figure that Elizabeth (Louise Harris) and her sons need in their lives. One of the quiet, impressionable sons Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) particularly appreciates John’s results, if doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with his views, however John’s calm permanently-smiling face clearly hints at darker things lurking beneath.

It concerns the real story of the Snowtown Murders, and not knowing much about that case I can’t comment on how accurate it is , but I can comment on what a dull story for a film it makes. It comes across incredibly

voyeuristic to the crimes (which are shown in often disturbing ways), has nothing to say, no point to it and no real development.

There is no-one to sympathise with (Jamie is too impotent and John an obviously heartless psycho) and no exploration of the motives or the psychology. You lose interest in trying to follow who the various characters joining the group are and how they are related as it jolts from one point to the next, presumably ticking points off in the case notes.

Lucas Pittaway undeniably gives a great performance of fresh-faced creeping involvement and the feel of the film with the dull filters and the claustrophobic close-ups is good, but what this boils down to is more of an overlong stylised investigative news report than anything else.

It left me frustrated, bored and a bit repulsed at how it spent two hours pretty much celebrating murderers. And it goes on and on as well, managing to make a 2 hour film feel like about 5.

It’s not very nice, I didn’t like it.

2 on 5

Director: Justin Kurzel
Starring: Daniel Henshall, Lucas Pittaway, Louise Harris
UK Release: 18th November 2011


2 thoughts on “Snowtown

  1. I’m pretty sure it opens in Adelaide does it not? Or at least the film is supposed to be set in the northern suburbs of Adelaide.
    I felt really strange coming out of that film when I saw it at the cinema but at the end of the day I don’t feel it celebrated the murders, although it did make you care for Jamie. Living in Adelaide means that obviously I know the case pretty well and the film sometimes makes you root for Jamie a bit; that he will ditch it and leave, then you remind yourself that you know the ending, which kind of leaves you quite removed from the viewing.
    I did think that the acting was incredible though, for such an awful subject.

  2. Freak says:

    Yes, you’re absolutely right – it was Adelaide, not Brisbane! Thanks for that, I’ll amend it.

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