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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Daniel Henshall
Lucas Pittaway
Louise Harris
Craig Coyne.
Directors
Justin Kurzel.
Screenwriters
Shaun Grant .
Running Time
120 minutes

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Snowtown
Silence Of The Kangaroos


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Plot
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.


Review
Snowtown
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.


Verdict
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.


Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Snowtown
Empire Star Rating

RE: Incredible film making.

quite similar Animal Kingdom is a much more entertaining (that's hardly the right word, but...) film and I found it more accessible, but there's no doubt that Snowtown is a great bit of film-making, even if it's tricky to keep track of all the characters that drift through it, be they victim, accomplice, acquaintance, extended family member, neighbour etc etc... hat's a fair point as there's a lot of people who come and (particularly) go, but in my opinion it's the central relationship bet... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 20:26, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Incredible film making.

Good one ... More

Posted by zenkovich at 13:53, 24 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Incredible film making.

Grim, nasty, powerful and more than a bit scummy - almost felt the need to wash my hands after watching this. A very intense serial-killer true story told primarily from the point of view of the teenager that gets sucked into a horrific cycle of events. Watching his life go from bad to worse to "holy shit!" is harrowing. I would recommend this quite highly, but am in no rush to watch it again myself, it's all just a wee bit too dirty to be classed as entertaining. The acting is out... More

Posted by Vitamin F at 13:22, 23 May 2012 | Report This Post


Incredible film making.

I just watched it and thought it was incredible. Extremely disturbing intense and harrowing, but really powerful stuff. The violence wasn't really shown, more so insinuated. Saying that though there was one scene that was insanely hard to watch, but even then the violence wasn't necesseraliy gory, just extremely disturbing. The acting was amazing from everyone involved. I wouldn't recommend this to everyone because of the nature and tone of the film, but I thought there were moments of absolutel... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Coyleone at 02:03, 03 March 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Snowtown

Thankfully the excellent Phoenix cinema in Leicester brought this back for a week, so I went to see it last night. Very curious really, I wasn't sure is I was enjopying it at all until it finished, then I realsied what a brilliant bit of filmmaking and acting I had seen. Great performances all round, very dark, very disturbing, I thought the 2 guys playing Jamie (who is really the character we see the film through) and of course John Bunting (played brilliantly by Daniel Henshall - a truly t... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jonson at 08:17, 12 January 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Snowtown

A largely ambigious, deeply horrifying and hugely impressive portrayal of one of Australia's darker chapters in it's recent history that is as effective as any horror film you're likely to see this year. It's not so much a film about the crimes of John Bunting (an utterly terrifying Daniel Henshall) but more so in the human tragedy experienced through the eyes of teenager Jamie who through no real choice of his own is trapped and coerced into a path of appalling cruelty and extreme violence (mo... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 13:39, 28 November 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Snowtown

forgot to put me stars on there mate ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ChudMonkey at 10:41, 22 November 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Snowtown

Unrelentingly harrowing, outstanding performances, tension built up brilliantly by only slowly revealing the nature of the brutality over the course of the movie and by using an absolutely immense soundtrack. I can't believe at least 6 people walked out of the screening I went to last night - fools! 5 massive stars - absolutely stunning ... More

Posted by ChudMonkey at 10:40, 22 November 2011 | Report This Post


Incredible film

Definitely four stars, a very tough watch. Can't believe Empire only gave it a one paragraph review. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ChicksHands at 09:06, 19 November 2011 | Report This Post


Disturbing

is a good word to use here. Cerebral, creeping, brilliant, all good words. Daniel Henshall's performance is the most lightning in a bottle thing you'll see for a while. I'm an Australian, and I approved this movie. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TomBowler at 12:31, 17 November 2011 | Report This Post


RE:

I thought this was rather dull. The film never managed to establish the relationships between many of the characters. The actions and motivations of secondary characters were unclear and only when I read the wikipedia entry on the case, a much more interesting and devastating story emerged. This had a quite a few of the same crew that worked on Animal Kingdom, another Aussie true crime story to which this bore some stylistic similarity, but that was a far better film about a family involv... More

Posted by Herr Schnitzel at 10:25, 17 November 2011 | Report This Post


A slow-burning and confronting watch. Takes a while to get going but I guess that's the point. It wasn't until it was finished that I realised I'd enjoyed it. It told you me story without me realising I'd been told one. Excellent. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by crimsonfire at 01:46, 17 November 2011 | Report This Post


RE: It's OK

Just got back from seeing this. A hard watch, but a very fine piece of film making. Great performances from all of the first time actors, as well. ... More

Posted by nhassell at 22:50, 16 November 2011 | Report This Post


It's OK

It's an interesting insight into the minds of these people, and it doesn't overdo the violence, but it falls victim to the trap that many Australian films fall into, to be grittier and far more grim than any previous local release. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Squidward Hark Bugle at 04:55, 16 November 2011 | Report This Post


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