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Film Fest 2011 - Snowtown


Australia 2011
Director: Justin Kurzel
Producers: Anna McLeish, Sarah Shaw
Screenplay: Shaun Grant. Inspired by the books Killing for Pleasure by Debi Marshall and The Snowtown Murders by Andrew McGarry
Photography: Adam Arkapaw
Editor: Veronika Jenet
Music: Jed Kurzel

With: Lucas Pittaway (Jamie), Daniel Henshall (John), Louise Harris (Elizabeth), Anthony Groves (Troy), David Walker (Mark), Aaron Viergever (Robert), Richard Green (Barry), Beau Gosling (David), Frank Cwertniak (Jeffrey), Aasta Brown (Verna)

Festivals: Adelaide, Cannes (Critics' Week) 2011

120 minutes
Censors rating tbc

This scarily credible movie about serial killer John Bunting takes Australian cinema's fertile fascination with its most flagrant outlaws into the realms of pure horror. Targeting alleged paedophiles, gays and other 'scum' about whom 'no one gives a shit', Bunting and his followers committed 11 gruesome murders in the northern outskirts of Adelaide between 1992 and 1999. As it turns out, the film by first-time director Justin Kurzel eschews the dramatic thrills that murder stories conventionally offer and serves the horrors chilly and chilling, in an atmosphere of creeping depravity. Kurzel sinks us deep into a denatured, rootless suburban netherworld where a controlling, inscrutable monster like Bunting (Daniel Henshall) can hold sway. Our companion into this living horror show is Jamie (Lucas Pittaway), an awkward, abused kid who responds gratefully when Bunting takes up with his mother and encourages him to toughen up. Knowing only as much about what's going on as Bunting lets Jamie see, we watch as the lost kid becomes a bloated, baffled and bloodied minion of the devil. What's supremely disturbing and salutary about this portrait of a serial killer is its dogged adherence to the knowable. - BG
"Buyer beware: Snowtown is no ordinary 'serial killer' movie. There is no charismatic Hannibal Lector cooking up thrills, no Wolf Creek super-hermit delivering hold-my-hand multiplex horrors. In a triumph of naturalism, debut director Justin Kurzel has brilliantly recreated scenes from Australia's most notorious killing/torture spree& The entire large cast - many of them local first-timers - are superbly believable." - Frank Hatherly, Screendaily