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"Poignantly eerie and graphic retelling..."
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.