Romper Stomper (1992) Poster

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10/10
An excellent film that is both interesting and disturbing.
markguszak12 August 2000
Every thing about this movie is unique, right down to the 16mm film that they used to shoot it. Even though it was filmed in 1992, it has the look a an early 80's film. I defy you not to think about A Clockwork Orange as you watch it.

Some people have said that the film glorifies skinheads. I would have to ask those people, WHAT FILM WERE YOU WATCHING? This film presents skinheads and their society and says this is the way it is. It does not glorify, nor does it jump on a soapbox. Not to tip anything off, but by the end of the film I don't think there are going to be too many people saying "being a skinhead is a wonderful life." In fact, I think that is why the film is so good. The subject matter is not black and white, it is very gray. Skinheads exist for a reason, they do things for a reason. The reasons might sound immoral to us, but the world is made up of different types. In fact, most of the movie deals with Hando (Russel Crowe) trying very hard to hold his skinhead bunch together. However, the destructive nature of the characters is bringing about the destruction of their lifestyle.

The performances in this film are great. In particular, Daniel Pollock is great as Davey. I was very saddened to hear that he died right after this movie. He is often silent during the film, but his facial expressions are very powerful. For anyone that is interested in examining some of the darker groups that wander around this world, Romper Stomper has a very interesting one for you to look at.
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9/10
Definitely Worth Seeing
J. M. Verville2 November 2003
Romper Stomper takes great pains for an accurate depiction of the skinhead culture; the dress is perfect (except for the roles of the females of the crew) as well as the music; the overall movie captures the culture very well on those factual bases, and on the artistic fronts and aspects of the film the portrayel is also enjoyable, accurate, and sparks great thought.

The film demonstrates some very well-done action sequences; the thuggish violence that is seen throughout the film is very well crafted, and done in a manner that I found to be pleasing to anyone who likes realism (nothing cartoonish or over the top -- just shear teeth-clenching violence).

On top of the action sequences is a relatively intriguing story; however, the plot is never fully developed and there are certain parts of the story that interest you very much, yet you do not get to find out more. The film is very much worth watching though it has its' flaws. A very good film, overall, that gives you good action and some things for you to think about.

Mostly this film ought to be lauded for its' graphic depictions and its' attempts at accuracy (which greatly supersede most films). It is a very beautiful demonstration of Australian cinema (and proudly so) that is greatly underrated and underviewed. I advise anyone to watch this film.
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9/10
Brutal and bleak viewing
Jakethemuss22 June 2007
Firstly, I'd like to start by saying that anyone who thinks this is somehow pro-racist or pro-skinhead has REALLY missed the point, thats if they've even seen it,that is. That would be like saying 'Saving Private Ryan' glorifies war, or 'Trainspotting' glorifies drugs.

It revolves around a bunch of lawless Australian skinheads, as they party to loud skrewdriver-esquire music, drink, fight (amongst each other as well as against the Vietnamese immigrants living nearby), cause mayhem..and so on so forth. They are living in a dilapidated old garage and scrounge off the system whilst hating it. They are portrayed as hopeless, angry lost kids held together by a psychopathic and violent leader;Hando Where to start with Hando, seriously, this is undoubtedly Russel Crowe's most unforgettable performance. Whether its his tattoo's, shaved head, unshaven face or cold eyed glare...you can't help but be drawn in by Hando. He is by far the most relentless and ruthless member of the gang, and during the film you wonder whether or not they'd even exist without him.

During the film, things take a turn for the worse, actually they take several turns for the worst...which has an increasingly negative effect on the gang.

I rated this film a 9, as it achieves what it sets out to do. Give the viewer a no-holds barred trip into the destructive lives of social outsiders, and the violence and hatred that follows. Not easy viewing, but I recommend this film to anyone who likes their movies gritty and upfront.
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10/10
Russell Crowe at his best.
markguszak27 June 2001
This film will stay with you for quite awhile. It tells the story of Hando (Crowe) and his best mate Davey. Both are Skinheads in the Melbourne area, 1980's. Hando and Davey's lives revolve around collecting Nazi relics and attacking Orientals that have chosen to live in Australia. The two are very tight and big believers in the cause, keep Australia free of outsiders. However, when a girl enters the picture, one will start to see that life is more than just mindless violence and the other will go mad as he sees that his small group of Skins cannot change the fate of his country. This film is not preachy and does not come across as black and white. Both Hando and Davey have positive and negative traits. Instead, the picture tries to show what motivates Skins in doing what they do. The film has some violence, but only in attempt to show how pointless violence is. In my opinion, this is Crowe's finest performance. Moreover, the actor that played Davey is brilliant as well (sadly, he died shortly after the film was finished). If you want to see an excellent historical lesson about hate and how it destroys, see Romper Stomper.
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Fighting for Survival, Power
corporateslave11 October 2004
I'm sure people may have dismissed this movie as a nazi tribute to white power. On the contrary, it gives an excellent picture of what happens when powerless people try to find some control over their lives. Nazi-ism itself is scapegoating and blame disguised as fascism, and this movie uses it to paint a picture of desolation and desperation.

White power and immigrant-hatred are not what this movie is about. It's about friendship and the need to belong to something. Russell Crowe's Hando is powerful - I couldn't take my eyes off of him. Hando uses that magnetism to draw people into his ideology, thus creating control and power for himself. Things begin to unravel when Gabe, the girl who comes between Hando and Davey, throws off the hold Hando has enjoyed over his little crowd. Remember what Orwell says: Absolute Power corrupts absolutely? Well, so does arrogance. Arrogance and the lack of respect for one's fellow man, regardless of race or creed, are key players in this plot.

I wish there had been more of Davey (Daniel Pollock) in this film, and I'm sorry to have learned of his real-life suicide in the weeks after it's completion. I recommend this film to people who are interested in how poverty, ignorance, and powerlessness change people into strange earthly demons capable of indiscriminate violence.
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Nice 'n' Gritty!
HailSanta23 July 2004
I wish I had seen it earlier when it was on TV. Finally just got round to watching it on recommendation from a mate. I've never actually seen a Crowe film, Gladiator has now become a priority due to his performance in this. I have to say that it's not often a film will make me cringe, neither is it often that a film will have me so emotionally engrossed with the characters as ROMPER STOMPER did. It's hard to explain, but even though I hated what the characters stood for, I couldn't help but cheer them on! It's nice to see a film which doesn't just portray the 'goodies'. My favorite scenes are the party, the rich man's house and of course the mammoth battle. An excellent film which definitely makes it into my all time favorite flicks...9/10
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8/10
Obviously this is popular now for its star, but it deserves more...
jheisel4 April 2001
Romper Stomper is enjoying renewed interest due to the current fame of its star, Russell Crowe, but the movie stands on its own regardless.

Crowe plays the leader of a violent group of racist skinheads, who are upset over Vietnamese immigrants in their neighborhood. There are quite a few clashes, a love story, and betrayal all wrapped up in a disturbing package.

While watching Romper Stomper I found myself sympathizing with at least one of the racist characters, even though my views are far from his -- it's just that well written and acted.

There aren't a lot of surprise in this film, but the surprises that exist are truly interesting and plausible. This does not mean that the movie is cliche and boring, though -- it presents its ideas in an interesting fashion with well-written and directed acting.
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10/10
Into the Heart of Darkness?
c_hookham25 June 2003
Caused a lot of controversy in Oz and here in the UK when first released in 1992 and its not that difficult to see why. This is is no American History X with its somewhat 'weekend' boneheads who still live with mummy and hold down jobs or attend school. Hando and his crew live outside society with no outside control or scrutiny of their actions.There is no attempt by the makers to moralise on what Hando and co get upto, they simply show how it is with Neo-nazi groups

Russel Crowe's depiction of Hando surely ranks as one of the greatest portrayals of pure menacing evil ever and the fight scenes are brilliantly staged and edited. For a companion film to this I'd recommend viewing 'Ultra', an Italian language film that follows a group of football thugs in a similar way.
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9/10
Insanely fantastic
Boyo-227 June 2001
Very violent and if for any reason you need to get your heart racing, this is the ticket. Takes awhile to get going and for a plot to actually form, but when it does all bets are off and the movie is running at 1000mph for the rest of the running time. There are moments of human interaction and even some tenderness but they make the violent scenes so much more meaningful. Different from "American History X" but similar in many ways too.

Crowe is great, as always. He can play anything, I am starting to believe his recent Oscar win was a really great thing. Hando is a totally different person from Bud White in 'L.A. Confidential', Maximus in 'Gladiator', Andy in 'Proof' and Jeff in 'The Sum of Us'. I can only imagine what he'll do in 'A Beautiful Mind' but I bet it'll be something.

8/10
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10/10
haunting....
witster1817 September 2012
There is so much good stuff going on in this one.

The look of the film: It's gritty, and while you can tell it was lower-budget, the film reeks of quality in terms of the shots/overall cinematography. 16mm really did nothing but add to the realism of this one.

The story:It's chock-full of interesting characters. Some good. SOme evil. And some that want to go from one side to the other, but can't.

The sound: Amazing. The music is powerful. Especially in the final scene where the music will stay with you for long after the credits end.

The acting: First rate across the board. These people could have been real for all I know.

This film will divide audiences because of it's subject matter, but it's one of the best, lesser-known, low-budget foreign offerings you're likely to see. The current 6.8 rating is an absolute travesty. I was expecting to see about 7.8, and that's why I decided to write this review.

This is a disturbing film, and one that I can highly recommend.

It IS better than American History X.

86/100

You Might Like THis if you Liked: American History X(good, but not as good), THe Boys Next Door(perhaps the last time a low-budget, dramatic film disturbed me this much - not as good as this though), American Me(not quite as good as this), Boyz in the Hood(better), Tzameti 13(not as good).
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10/10
Crowe's future stardom looks obvious...
CinefanR7 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The un-stylized, mind-numbing violence makes it a difficult experience, but "Romper Stomper" somehow manages to walk on that thin line between "edgy" and "self-serving". It makes fine observations while not crossing the line, and that's what makes the difference between art and mere exploitation. Enjoyable like a smack over the head, the film basically gives you the horrifying spectacle of humans trying to connect. To fill a void. Through violence.

The major asset of "Romper Stomper" is a young Russell Crowe who already dominates the space with tremendous star power. If he's not perfectly "credible" in this role it's only because, despite his tattoos and menacing physique, he simply looks too intelligent, too complex for a Skin-head. A real Skin-Head, as I imagine it, would be nothing more than a brain-dead, inarticulate brute, with no intellect whatsoever. Russell's clear voice and eyes can't help but blowing his "cover".

But this is no dumb reality-show, and the choosing of Crowe is a wise one. We are watching here more than mindless violence - there is something going on in these characters' minds after all. And it is interesting to get a glimpse. He's the leader, so he has some degree of intelligence; the rest are cattle. Nobody but Russell Crowe could represent an idea so convincingly: the fascination of violence.

By the end of the movie, I was left with the impression that these people were just a bunch of confused kids who hadn't been fortunate enough to have better role-models. Violent as they were, they seemed to be craving, deep down, for something else – for a family, for love and friendship. The way it plays out certainly leaves room for more open questions on "nature vs nurture". However, the film doesn't make excuses for the gang's behavior. On the contrary, it presents them as a dying species, their ideology rendered obsolete by natural evolution. The movie only tries to identify the causes of this aberration. As I see it, the ending comes as both an affirmation of faith and a much needed moral position. It's good, seeing a filmmaker take responsibility for a change. The director could have easily turned Hando into a tragic hero, wronged by society and only taking what's rightfully his. Fortunately, that doesn't happen.

Great acting and direction, well developed and intriguing characters, compelling social commentary and above all, Russell Crowe's take on a difficult role, make "Romper Stomper" an interesting exploration of the mind.
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7/10
Oi! Aussie skinheads romp and stomp.
BA_Harrison12 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Skinheads—love 'em or loathe 'em, you can't ignore them; and if you tried, they would kick your head in!

Russell Crowe gives a bravura performance as Nazi-loving Hando, leader of a gang of racist thugs hell-bent on giving a good drubbing to the immigrants that have taken over his neighbourhood. Romper Stomper is a brutal and uncompromising look at the ugly face of prejudice and the futility of anger and violence.

Hando's gang are a seething mass of hate and ignorance, lashing out at those they do not understand. The inevitable result is pain and suffering (and not just for those who get their heads cracked by the bovver-booted bully boys). No-one is allowed a happy ending in this film; everyone winds up dead, nearly dead or at least getting a good pasting.

With excellent performances from all involved, this disturbing look at youth and blind hatred is compelling and well worth a look.
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6/10
NOW we know why Russell Crowe likes to fight...
mutcutts11 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Wow. This was recommended by a coworker and I must say I liked this film. Especially the gang war sequence. There's about 15 minutes straight of brutal violence and with NO guns. Awesome. Good backstory as well with a bizarre love triangle, parental molestation, and epilepsy. The whole thing fits together in a neat little package and is essential viewing for any Crowe fans who want to see some of his earlier work. 7/10....
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7/10
Love and hate among head-kickers
Chase_Witherspoon4 October 2012
One of the better Australian movies to emanate from the 90's stars Russell Crowe before home-wrecking, hotel telephones and Oscars as an aggressive skinhead (Hando) whose relationship with best friend Daniel Pollock (Davy) sours over the ever-escalating brand of racism he practices, and the presence of Jacqueline Mackenzie's character with whom both are involved - Crowe's neglect paves the way for Pollock's advances and so the rivalry emerges.

Apart from Crowe (who is essentially monotone in-character) and Mackenzie as a misguided rich kid rebelling in the extreme, only Sam Wyllie is recognisable as one of the motley crew. Though Pollock could have potentially become a recognisable actor, tragically his life ended prematurely shortly following this film.

Generally, like a great many Australian pictures, "Romper Stomper" is edgy and raw, and the content of the film is fairly uncompromising in its violent and sometimes graphic detail (read nudity). This all bodes well if you're comfortable with the subject matter as you shouldn't be disappointed.
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9/10
Read beyond the skinhead lines
ihatejuliaroberts-128 January 2007
There is tremendous controversy over whether or not this film is pro skinhead or not. Whereas American History X is obviously anti-racist, Romper Stomper is not and there in lies its greatness. In all fleeting appearances Romper Stomper seems like a romantic tale for racist skinheads but in actuality it is a tragic love story between societal outcasts, two of which happen to be skinheads. In context the film is a commentary on humanity, friendship, and love. The skinhead aspect of the movie is technically trivial in comparison to the love triangle of the three main characters. I won't go as far as saying that Romper Stomper carries the same weight as a Shakespearean tragedy but the comparison is valid. Those growing up in urban regions would quickly discount that statement due to an inability of seeing past the political overtones of the skinhead theme but the truth is that a significant proportion of the world's population can at least identify with Hando and his friends. Thus the only two ways of really appreciating this movie is either by being a racist skinhead or by seeing beyond that issue and examining the relationship between Hando, Davey and Gabe which happens to be brutally honest and human in my opinion. The score is excellent if not unintentionally distracting from the theme of the movie. The acting is extremely brilliant as well as is the cinematography which is appropriately gritty. Bottom line is do not read too much into the skinhead aspect; attempt to understand the characters as human beings first and skinheads second and you will thoroughly enjoy this movie.
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9/10
An Absolutely Superb Piece of Filmmaking
david-sarkies8 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I remember when this movie came out in the cinema, it was both praised and attacked for its violence. Then when it came out on video, my group of friends watched it and loved it so much that they got themselves a copy of it to watch it constantly. The video then went missing after somebody lent it to their boss.

When I first watched Romper Stomper, I watched it through the eyes of a lout, and thought that it was cool. This time I watched it as a piece of literature and suddenly saw that it is a superbly crafted film with very deep characters. The film revolves around a gang of skinheads who live in Footscray, an industrial suburb in Melbourne. The leader of the gang is Hando (Russel Crowe), a neo-Nazi, and his side kick is Davey, a more quiet and passive skinhead. One day in the pub they meet Gaye, a young girl who just left her boyfriend and is looking for excitement, so she hooks up with Hando.

It is the characters that really make this movie. The first thing to look at is Hando, because his personality makes up the personality of the whole gang. He is the leader and what he says, goes. Hando is a nativist, meaning that the only native race in Australia is the WASP, the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. His neighbourhood is being bought out by Vietnamese and this he resents. He believes that Australia is a white nation and the Asians are corrupting it, so they make a habit of beating them up. Hando is fighting a war that he cannot win, because the more he attacks the Vietnamese, the angrier he makes them, and in the end he brings the whole community onto his gang. This riot signals the beginning of the end of his gang because up until that moment they have not been defeated.

Hando suffers from a fatal flaw, and that is his obsession with his hatred of anything Asian. At the opening of the film, he encounters a couple of Asian girls at the railway station, so he and his gang beat them up. This is not a noble thing to do, but rather the result of an obsession. The furthest extent of his flaw is during a break-in he sees a Japanese car, so he turns his mind from the job at hand to totally decimate the car. This leads to the owner of the house getting to them with a gun forcing them to flee and leaving all of the stuff behind.

Hando is the ultimate in self-centeredness, yet he refuses to acknowledge his flaw. When Gaye exposes his flaw to him, instead of listening to her, he throws her out. In fact, his obsession leads him to severely disrespect the woman that is supposed to be his girlfriend. When she cooks dinner, instead of eating it, he attacks it for being Italian and throws it away. Yet without his gang, Hando is nothing. As we watch his gang diminish, we see the once proud and menacing figure that is Hando also diminish. His clothes become more ragged and his appearance more desperate. The scene when he arrives in Davey's bedroom after his gang are all gone depicts a man who has lost everything. And his final death, by the standard issue Hitler Youth knife, is fitting for one who followed the world view of Adolf Hitler. Even then the knife was made in 1944, at a time when all was lost for Germany.

Davey is Hando's best friend, yet rather than equals, he is the one that follows Hando everywhere. Hando treats Davey as a child, and in a way he is. Davey does not have the burning passion that Hando has, instead he quiet and very submissive. Yet Hando realises that he needs Davey's friendship. He lets him go easily, yet when his gang is all gone, he comes crawling back to him. Davey claims to be Hando's best friend, yet there seems to be little interaction between them until right at the end. Hando does father Davey, as seen when he makes Davey comfortable after finding him passed out on the stairs. Yet it is the scene of the beach when we really see the finest interaction between Hando and Davey.

Hando is the one who has all the words, and his words work to sink deep into Davey's minds. Hando believes that Davey needs him and tries to convince him to dump Gaye, for she is only a burden too them. It is not Davey that needs Hando but rather Hando that needs Davey. As mentioned earlier, without his gang, Hando is nothing, and it is when his gang is gone, Hando comes crawling to Davey to plead with him to join him. Even then, Hando kills a service station attendant to force Davey to stay with him. Davey is easily manipulated and persuaded, and it is because of this that Hando wants him around because he knows that Davey won't speak back to him.

Romper Stomper is seriously a superb movie. The script is finely crafted and a lot of thought has been put into the characters, their relationships, their traits and their flaws. Some have claimed that there is a lot of Hollywood sensationalism in the movie, but after watching it recently I am very much inclined to disagree. This is not a Hollywood movie, nor is it a movie exploring the world of Skinheads and squatters, but it is the tragic story of Hando who, through his obsession, brings destruction not only onto himself but onto all of his followers.
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Boisterous rough and ready assault on your senses- perfectly timed
fredda_ruth5 January 2004
Boisterous rough and ready assault on your senses- perfectly timed and utterly sharp and not boring. Random violence explodes as post- Nazi punks/skinheads glorifying Hitler's racial superiority fantasies rattle the bones of society's apathetic navel- not with some political and social conscience but with some "I'm bored/I'm a misfit/Hmm. Nazism? Sounds interesting" truism.

What they lack in vision (with the exception of Davey and Hando, who are bestfriends and the core leaders of the group) and reasoning they make up for in compulsive, frantic rioting and clumsily lashing out at the "gooks"- the Vietnamese people who they believe are "contaminating" the purity of their all-white community.

For a veritable walking time bomb, Rusell Crowe as Hando the gang leader is super charming and hot. He exudes raw, magnetic power- he's exactly the kind of guy that could skin a cat alive without the pussy knowing it. Add some dangerous visions in his mind- and you have a frightening body count of "dead gooks".

I guarantee that you will never find a dull moment in this movie. The plot just tightens; and you just pity these poor, insecure, hapless but blustering, armed kids. Helen, sexually harassed by her father and another misfit, is bewildered and tender- and she pulls the story together, right when there's no more sympathy left for Hando. The wide shots of the frenzied fighting capture the pulsing desperation of the moment/s; and the music video to "skinheads skinheads" is a classic- one that Quentin Tarantino probably envies.

The twisted ending is ferocious and perfect. It's actually a love story set amidst a society fuelled with hate and boredom and angst; or perhaps it's just a story about three lost souls navigating their squalid community- caught up, vindictive against societal ills (broken families, having "no future", wasted lives looming ahead), eager to lay the blame on something, ready to embrace any brotherhood or credo that will give authenticity to their defiant rage.
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10/10
Entertaining as Heck
Mengele24 September 2007
This movie is brilliant. It has great actors, real new-Nazi music, good editing... Before you see it, you must know that the Skinhead lifestyle has not originated The awful movie American History X is nothing like this. Romper Stomper is very entertaining and realistic. If you like good movies, I recommend you to see this. If you felt that American History X was just tragic with awful boring actors, but are interested in Skinheads or new-Nazis, you must see it. It is not any movie to be recommended to use in schools for learning about racism. I gave it 10/10 because it was simply awesome, and if any whiny politicians thinks that this movie is dangerous and must be banned, then they have not any knowledge about the point of this movie.
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10/10
more proof of Crowe's talent
Lee Eisenberg14 May 2005
We most likely would find it hard to stomach a movie that humanizes skinheads, but "Romper Stomper" does just that. The plot centers on a group of Australian skinheads terrorizing the Vietnamese immigrants, but ironically, we sort of end up sympathizing with the skinheads.

Russell Crowe plays the lead skinhead, Hando. A far cry from his clean-cut good guys in "Rough Magic", "LA Confidential", "Gladiator", "A Beautiful Mind" and "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World", he almost makes you forget that this skinhead is an actor. Like so many other actors and actresses, Crowe seems able to play literally any role perfectly, even making us root for a seemingly undesirable person.
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Hate Means Never Having to Say You're Complicated
fred-2874 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
This is probably the best movie about racism that I've seen, chiefly because it doesn't try to explain anything. It just presents these young white Australian guys who don't like the increasing presence of Asians, chiefly Vietnamese. Interestingly, after the opening subway scene we don't even see them doing much racializing, they just go about their grubby little lives. All that really "happens" is that eventually one of them dies. There's no catharsis, no great lesson learned, the surviving characters stay locked in their limited lives. Which maybe is the point: any "ism" to which one subscribes is ultimately a kind of box. One may freely take this lack of freedom to the grave. The rest of the world goes on with it's business.

Then-unknown Russell Crowe steals the show as Hando, the most radical Skinhead. Crowe has a kind of Dennis-Hopperesque quality, the ability to convey menace while seeming almost preoccupied. His American roles have required him to interact with large numbers of characters, e.g. "Proof of Life," "Gladiator," "A Beautiful Mind," in which he levels his Richard-Burton-laser gaze at all and sundry and flexes the occasional muscle when necessary. In "Romper Stomper" he's mostly isolated; his Hando has elaborate tattoos that only he and a couple others ever get to see. The shortness of his fuse makes his time bomb tick all the louder. In a scene where he tries to explain his views to a mate while doing pull-ups, it seems a shame that if Hando had only a little more insight into himself, he'd grasp how he's wasting his life. Certainly there's no one around him who'll point that out to him, for various reasons.

Americans should watch this partly to remember how horrible "American History X" was in comparison. That latter flick DOES try to "explain" everything about the Skinhead played by Edward Norton and thus falls into a trap of it's own making. When Norton's character says about blacks "Slavery ended 130 years ago, when are these people going to get their act together?" it sounds like a not unreasonable question, especially since blacks are also seen doing bad things. But the point they should be making is that it's INDIVIDUALS who do good or bad. In a neighborhood that's almost entirely black, of course most of the criminals will be mostly black, likewise most of the victims. "Romper Stomper" cleverly steers clear of all that.

Excellent use is made of a certain prop, a World War II era SS knife, without getting too "allegorical" with it.
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9/10
Crude, Ugly, Brilliant, Flawless
dcmMovielover21 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
In the decaying urban squalor of Melbourne's back streets a gang of racist Skinheads live out a crude existence of nazi-rock parties, heavy drinking, and brutal assaults on immigrant youth. Led by psychotic neo-nazi Hando, the gang comprises Davey (his best mate), Bubbs (the underage mascot), Sonny, Cackles, Brett, Champ and Luke, along with their female 'camp-followers' of two dubious Goths and some tough-talking Skin-Girls. Several scenes (one presumes intentionally) eerily remind of "A Clockwork Orange" which adds marvellously if not chillingly to its overall tone, although the film is otherwise a piece of no holds barred realist cinema.

When Gabe, a lost soul and deeply troubled young woman, strays into a back-street pub claimed by the gang as their hangout, the subtle cracks in the dynamics between Hando and Davey gradually unfold. As no-less a violent and unrelenting racist as Davey is, he is evidently a gentler more mild personality than Hando, and is to a large extent in Hando's shadow. As Gabe gets it on with Hando becoming the gang's latest auxiliary, Davey is smitten and his interest is not lost on Gabe, who for her part at least encourages his attention…if not craves it.

Then a vicious attack on two immigrant men, which starts as an impulsive act of 'political activism', becomes the beginning of the end for the Skinhead gang and for the relationships between Hando, Davey and Gabe. After a terrifying mass fight against an overwhelming mob of Vietnamese men, which towers leagues above anything I've seen in any other 'gang film' and which arcs the entire middle of the movie, the Skinheads end up well and truly on the run. Resorting to basic human instincts and no longer able to conceal their worst personal defects (or in Davey's case, his affections for Gabe), the remnants of Hando's gang try to survive the dire circumstances their actions have brought upon them, and as they continue a catalogue of lawless deeds against those perceived as their enemies, the proverbial time-bomb continues to tick. One by one they fall, as Hando's once iron grip slips to sub-gutter (quite literally in one scene) leadership, forcing Davey to abandon his 'idol' and attempt to go it alone. With a tragically magnificent finale, this is a timeless story which delves into the raw and ugly of our times.
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7/10
Pure, Raw Intensity
gavin694226 November 2012
A group of skinheads become alarmed at the way their neighborhood is changing.

So this was Russell Crowe's breakout performance? Being a tough guy who beats people up? Sounds about right, at least as far as his image is generally concerned.

I do not have much to say about this one. It lies on a plane somewhere between "A Clockwork Orange" and "American History X", with the racism turned against the Vietnamese rather than African-Americans. I know nothing about racial tension in Australia, so I cannot comment on this aspect -- I did not know they had a Neo-Nazi movement, even a small one.
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10/10
Classic Aussie Racial Issues Flick
sydneyswesternsuburbs24 June 2011
Director Geoffrey Wright who also created another classic flick, Metal Skin 1994 has created another gem in Romper Stomper.

Starring Russell Crowe who has also been in other classic flicks, Heaven's Burning 1997, Gladiator 2000, L.A. Confidential 1997, The Quick and the Dead 1995 and an episode of the classic television series, Spyforce 1971-1973.

Also starring Jacqueline McKenzie who has also been in another classic flick, Deep Blue Sea 1999.

Also starring Daniel Pollock.

Also starring the talented John Brumpton who has also been in other classic flicks, Life 1996, Dance Me to My Song 1998, Redball 1999, Getting Square 2003, The Loved Ones 2009, Cedar Boys 2009, Red Hill 2010, Storm Warning 2007 and another classic Aussie racial issues flick, The Combination 2009.

I enjoyed the party, violence and sex scenes.

If you enjoyed this as much as I did then check out other classic racial issues flicks, Do the Right Thing 1989, Goodbye Uncle Tom 1971, Jungle Fever 1991, Malcolm X 1992, Fight for Your Life 1977, Glory 1989, This is England 2006, Made in Britain 1982 and American History X 1998.
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Davey's redemption
peekayaitch24 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS THROUGHOUT***

This ugly, visceral, gut-churning movie may, at first sight, be regarded as a nothing more than a study of annihilation. Yet in reality this is, in essence, a simple tale of good versus evil - the damned versus the saved - Hando versus Davey.

***SPOILER*** The lines may be blurred, perhaps rendered almost unrecognisable, by their mutual racism and violent tendencies, but once Davey finds an opportunity for possible redemption, in the form of Gabe, it is this story's aim to establish whether he can overcome the true evil that personifies his best friend.

I appreciate that Russell Crowe's Hando may be the stand out character for many, but for me Daniel Pollack's wistful Davey, and his inner battles, provide the performance of the film and the hook upon which the storyline demands our sympathy.

***POSSIBLE SPOILER*** Without meaning to sound patronising, the extent to which Pollack's performance was driven by his own demons, the demons that led him to take his own life before the film was released, is hard to know. Yet the anguish, uncertainty and complexity of Davey's outlook provided a more pleasing study in disaffected youth than that of Hando's who was essentially an unreconstructed thug with empty pretensions towards intellectualising his violence.

***SPOILER*** You are always aware that Hando is heading in one direction only - self destruction, but the flicker of self-awareness in Davey, crystalised by his burgeoning love for Gabe, helps us, the audience, to forgive him his sins (which are plentiful).

***SPOILER*** Hando is beyond help, but in comparison Davey is 'redeemable' and thus the film cleverly allows us to feel comfortable with our affection for a man who we have seen perform wicked acts.

(There are few better examples of this comparison than the two sex scenes - the first, between Gabe and Hando is a soulless, expression of dominance; an almost brutal act, lacking any affection. But when Gabe and Davey are together we are presented with the entwining of two people expressing nothing but love for each other.)

***SPOILER*** And thus, by the time we reach the denouement on the beach, the battle lines have been drawn and we are in no doubt as to where our affections lie. We are presented with a Shakespearian tragedy as Hando demands loyalty from his friend and the destruction of the supposedly malevolent Gabe.

That Davey rejects Hando's pleas is the film's great 'Rocky' moment - we are cheering for him! and yet we have conveniently disregarded his devilish acts in the films earlier scenes.

***YEP, IT'S A SPOILER*** Hando's death is the only possible outcome and it duly comes - but to what extent Davey is now free is questionable. His involvement in a string of violent crimes would have to catch up with him.

Nevertheless, in the purest sense he has triumphed by rejecting the evil of Hando and embracing his more honest desires for Gabe. He has broken a wicked cycle and for that has allowed whatever latent morality he may possess to overcome his worst characteristics.

***SPOILER***Davey - the lesser of two evils? Nope - in this context he is a force for good and our forgiveness and empathy is complete when Hando dies.
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7/10
Excellent acting and a well made film, but the significance...
I remember hearing back when this came out that one of the actors gave a stellar performance. Years down the line I finally get around to seeing Romper Stomper, and that actor is international superstar Russell Crowe! And he does give quite a excellent performance (on par with everything he has made since). Actually everyone gave very believable and riveting performances with the very controlled and well timed direction of Geoffrey Wright. Overall the production and story are above par and it is very easy to get sucked in to everything. But I had to wonder what the overall purpose of the main characters being neo-nazi skinheads was. Although there was a sense of futileness to all the racial violence happening, there didn't seem to be a statement at the root of the film. The story starts as a look at a pack of skinheads and ends as a human story of two friends and the girl that finally helped the follower become the leader in their relationship. The fact that they were skinheads did not seem to have relevance to the core story, the two friends could have been mere thieves, part of a gang or even wall street moguls and the story could have taken the same route. So in the end I was left wondering, "What was the point of adding the racial card if there was no statement being made?" Nevertheless, Romper Stomper was a riveting movie that portrays the self-destructiveness that results from hatred with some excellent performances by the leads.
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