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3.6 out of 5 stars
63
3.6 out of 5 stars
Snowtown [Blu-ray]
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on 24 May 2017
Weird film
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on 1 February 2013
The movie centres on the main players in the "Bodies in the barrels" case. Some scenes are quite gruesome. I was expecting the story to be told differently than it is in this movie.
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on 14 May 2012
Australian screenwriter and director Justin Kurzel`s feature film debut which was written by screenwriter Shaun Grant after a story by Justin Kurzel and Shaun Grant, was inspired by Australian author and journalist Debi Marshall`s book "Killing For Pleasure: the definitive story of the Snowtown serial killings" (2006) and Australian author and journalist Andrew McGarry`s book "The Snowtown Murders: The Real Story Behind The Bodies-in-the-Barrels Killings" (2005). It was produced by Anna Mcleish and Sarah Shaw and is an Australian production which premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2011. It tells the story about 16-year-old Jamie Vlassakis who lives in a suburb North of Adelaide in South Australia in a tract home during the early 1990s with his mother Elizabeth Harvey who is struggling to take care of him and his brothers. After discovering that her boyfriend Jeffrey has been taking violating photographs of her sons, Elizabeth reports him to police. The following day, Elizabeth learns that Jeffrey has been released and contacts her gay friend Barry who later shows up at her place with his friend John. John makes quite an impression on Elizabeth and her sons with his domineering presence, expresses his resentment regarding what has happened to Elizabeth`s sons and takes an immediate liking to Jaimie. By giving Jaime and his brothers the chance to get revenge on Jeffrey by harassing him in various ways, he wins their affection and takes on the role as their father figure. Everyone feels safer now that John has come into their lives, but as Jaimie grows closer to John who acts as if he was his guardian angel, he is lured into an evil man`s world.

Acutely and precisely directed by first-time filmmaker Justin Kurzel, this poignantly eerie and graphic retelling of the eleven murders, instigated and mostly perpetrated by one of Australia`s worst serial killers John Bunting, which took place between August 1992 and May 1999 in the country town of Snowtown near Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. With a social realist approach and while notable for its naturalistic milieu depictions, the fine editing by film editor Veronika Jenet, cinematography by cinematographer Adam Arkapaw and the brilliant use of sound, this gritty and visceral psychological thriller, somewhat reminiscent of David Micôd`s "Animal Kingdom" (2010), draws a harrowing portrayal of a mother`s heartbreaking battle to support and protect her children and a rare father-son relationship.

This character-driven independent film about an afflicted family who sees a sign of hope when they meet a seemingly charming, considerate and affectionate man who walks into their home and takes command, depicts an internal study of character and is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure and the unflinching acting performance by Australian actor Daniel Henshall and the heartrending acting performances by Lucas Pittaway in his first feature film role and Louise Harris in her first feature film role. A reverent directorial debut which gained the Audience Award at the Adelaide Film Festival in 2011, the AACTA Award for Best Direction Justin Kurzel, Best Adapted Screenplay Shaun Grant, Best Lead Actor Daniel Henshall, Best Supporting Actress Louise Harris, Best Editing Veronika Jenet and Best Sound at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards in 2011 and a Special Mention from the Jury President at the 64th Cannes International Film Festival in 2011.
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on 24 April 2012
Unless you are Australian, you probably will not have heard of the true life serial killings on which this drama is based. No matter, the film unfolds as a study in violence in depravity with the young Jamie (Pittway) at its centre. As such, it is compelling and at times mesmeric.

Sexually abused and generally neglected, Jamie is easy pickings for John (Henshall), a charismatic figure who seems to offer the promise of fatherly mentorship. Unfortunately, mentorship in this case soon escalates from throwing dismembered kangaroo up a paedophile's front porch... to dismembering paedophiles.

So far so sympathetic then, since many viewers may feel that this is no more than they deserve. Unfortunately, it becomes evident that John's motives are more to do with bullying and self aggrandisement than making Australia safe for kiddies.

The film is not easy on the eye, but is intelligently directed, with powerful performances all round. At times it seems to drag a little, but this does have the effect of furthering the viewer's sense of being immersed in the tawdry milieu of the killer and his acolytes.

An original film, not for those feeling down at, or faint of, heart.
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on 16 April 2013
I've watched more films than I have had hot meals. Like any person you develop your own 'best' list. If I was asked what are my favourite films, this would be in my top ten. Why? some films are hit and miss. Entertaining but like fast food it is satisfying for a short while and quickly forgotten about, nothing special. But when I finished watching 'Snowtown' I felt I had an experience very rarely felt. Punched in the head with its intensity throughout its two hours. Doesn't sound like much fun but the film is a deep, dark, bleak tale and all the more powerful because it actually happened in Snowtown, South Australia. The directing reminded me of films by Andrew Dominik and John Hillcoat. They beautifully direct the darkest of subjects and in this film Justin Kurzel has made a crime drama masterpiece. The music is effective and eerie, creeping under your skin. I hate the saying 'documentary style' but it really did feel in parts that I was watching an actual crime, murder, rape etc.. and the acting was so impressive it felt like I wasn't watching actors, but those who committed the crimes themselves. An awesome, hugely impressive, brave and intense piece of film making, not pulling any punches for a second. Deffinately worth watching.
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on 2 April 2012
This is not an easy film to watch , the scene with the wallaby had me actually want to vomit. Yet how John manages to persuade those around him to join in and accept his gradual violence is mesmerising . Not knowing about the facts of this case I did find some of the characters [ who was actually killed] a little confusing and at time the aussie accents are very strong . Yet this didnt remove from how this film captured me , I dont know if I could say that I enjoyed it , as its certainly no home and away , but the brutal acting / script / story will stay in my mind for a long long time . This doesnt glorify violence but shows the horror of what some are capable of. Shocking stuff.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 September 2014
The press junket and first wave of critical notices built Snowtown up as a throat ripper that will cause you nightmares. That didn't do it any favours as per expectation levels for the horror enthusiast. However, this is a superb piece of film making, a real gritty and grainy deconstruction of the human condition gone sour. As with all films of this type that are based on real life incidents, it pays to read up on the facts if you be so inclined.

Debut director Justin Kurzel doesn't shirk from the horrors of the case, but skillfully he doesn't bang everyone over the head with shock tactics to grab the attention. It's a relentlessly bleak picture, there's a continuous build of impending dread, of human devastation wrung out by a master manipulator (Daniel Henshall as John Bunting superb), the depressing story told through the eyes of the simple and confused Jamie Vlassakis (Lucas Pittaway).

Not to be watched if one is looking to be cheered up! But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be sought out as essential cinema. It's a strong and potent film, worthy of inspection by adults who understand that not all film is about entertainment. 8.5/10
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on 11 December 2012
It was sort of compelling, but not the easiest of films to watch. Well worth hanging on in there though.
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on 2 April 2013
I rented this movie out of the dvd shop and enjoyed it so much I wanted a copy for myself. As usual on Amazon the price was very low and I keep this movie with any australian movies I collect
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on 1 December 2012
these people when it comes to violence they have a flare that exceeds most films i have seen absolutely brilliant if i didnt own it i would buy for sure great cheers
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