MFR Rating: ★ ★ ★
Based on the true story of infamous Australian serial killer John Bunting (Daniel Henshall), this slow burning Australian crime thriller is really rather horrid and not an easy watch. After 16 year old James and his younger brothers are sexually abused by their mother’s partner and the police don’t respond accordingly, the mother gets in touch with John, a local homophobic with violent tendencies who takes James under his wing to enact his form of vigilantism.
The film is at its strongest with some of the dialogue led by Daniel Henshall, who does a great job as the charismatic but deranged Bunting. However, the slow pace is rather isolating from the story particularly as some of the character actions and motivations feel rather underdeveloped and perplexing. It’s attempt to be hauntingly quiet doesn’t quite work as it feels like it lacks impetus and direction.
But all that being said, it has it’s moments and when it hits those moments, it is incredibly disturbing. Certainly not a movie I might urge people to go out to see right now, nor a movie that I would ever plan to watch again but it certainly leaves its mark.
Snowtown is out now in the UK on DVD. Running time 119 mins. Certificate 18 (UK).
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Review by David Rank