Snowtown Review

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Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) is a 16 year-old living a precarious life with his mother and two brothers in a deprived area of Adelaide. Life seems to take a turn for the better when John Bunting (Daniel Henshall) befriends the family, providing a mentor figure for Jamie - but there's something dark behind his friendly exterior.


A seedy Adelaide suburb, in the '90s. Glum teenager Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) learns that his mother’s new boyfriend, John Bunting (Daniel Henshall), is murdering apparent lowlifes and is drawn into Bunting’s circle of accomplices. Bunting becomes a dominant influence on the directionless lad. A grim account of one of Australia’s most notorious multiple murder cases, this evokes the neglect, abuse and numbing hopelessness of its viewpoint character’s life, to the point that the blokishly charismatic John genuinely seems like some sort of saviour before the full extent of his crimes — Bunting brutally tortured his victims before killing them — becomes apparent. Not a pretty picture, but impressively acted by unknowns and well-directed by name-to-watch Justin Kurzel.

Terrific performances, especially from the menacing, lazily charismatic Henshall, and debut director Kurzel's expressionist storytelling make for an Aussie film well worth hunting down. A tough but seriously rewarding watch.