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Snowtown

  • Drama
  • 2011
  • Justin Kurzel
  • 157 mins
  • 18

Summary

A single mother raising three boys begins a new relationship with a charismatic stranger who protects her family from her abusive ex-partner. This seemingly trustworthy man is actually a serial killer, and when her teenage son begins to hero worship him, he ends up joining him in committing murder. Fact-based drama, starring Lucas Pittaway, Daniel Henshall and Louise Harris.

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Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Ultra-bleak social commentary combines with true-life horror in this impressive though relentlessly disturbing debut from Australian director Justin Kurzel, based on his homeland's notorious "Bodies in the Barrels" murders. The gruelling 1990s-set drama plays like Ken Loach meets Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, as manipulative psychopath John Bunting (Daniel Henshall) worms his way into the deprived family of a suburban single mum and then grooms her 16-year-old son (Lucas Pittaway) to participate in his shocking crimes. Henshall is startling, switching between charmer and monster with riveting ease, while non-professional Pittaway's convincing emotional anguish elicits early sympathy. But it's the escalating sense of claustrophobia and dread that really crawls under the skin: with grimy visuals and a pulsating soundtrack proving particularly powerful in the by and large sensitively handled killing scenes. Where Kurzel frustratingly comes unstuck is in the confusing time frame and frequently unclear plot and character details, which leave viewers to make too many assumptions about what's happened and to whom.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

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Jamie VlassakisLucas Pittaway
John BuntingDaniel Henshall
Elizabeth HarveyLouise Harris
TroyAnthony Groves
BarryRichard Green (2)
Mark HaydonDavid Walker (3)
RobertAaron Viergever
JeffreyFrank Cwertniak

Crew

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DirectorJustin Kurzel

Details

Theatrical distributor
Revolver
Released on
2011-11-18
Language
English
Available on
DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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