The first officially sanctioned documentary about Maroubra's notorious surf-gang, the Bra Boys. Showing their success in professional big wave surfing, exploring their reputation for hard partying and rough justice, touching on their running battle with authorities and showing their reliance on one another to fit into and survive in a society in which they are displaced. The film also focuses on the evolution of the Sydney beach side suburb of Maroubra and the historical stigma associated with Australia's rebellious surf community, and the way it has contributed to their social displacement. Written by
Narrator Russell Crowe says "In 1780 after passing through the Pacific Islands, Captain James Cook sailed into Botany Bay" This should of course be 1770, as Captain James Cook died in 1779 in Hawaii. See more »
As raw social documentaries go, this one is surprisingly emotional. I grew up in the Sydney suburb Mascot in the 60s, behind the Sydney surf beach suburb of Maroubra; I went to school in Maroubra, surfed at Maroubra, lived at 433 Maroubra road, became a school teacher back at Maroubra in the 70s and taught some of the real characters seen in this film. So seeing BRA BOYS today is rather enlightening that such a generation has reveled in actual Bad Boy behavior, living out grubby 90s gang fantasies projected from distressing poor and illogical family schisms. Thank God they all have a Jackass sense of humor about themselves. The dangerous foolishness is genuinely hilarious, and as the documentary unravels it becomes more endearing as the viewer really gets to know the emotional side of a solid muscle mass of generational machismo. I knew three guys called Tony Hines, Tony Hinze and Tony Hinds. They all looked like the guy murdered in reel 5. One was gay. Often gang rapists are guys who actually want to have sex with a pal but mask that by abducting a female to cover their real intent. This is hinted at here. A lot of the bonding and reasons for, as depicted or explained here are also very same-sex oriented. That way they can be in a sexually exciting physical situation with another male. In fact the whole film is a celebration of very physical male bonding, young and older, mighty and mad, stupendous and stupid... reckless and devoted: the same conformities that bond the gay male community, something that has been explained in psychiatry about surfers and their male orientation gang behavior into male beauty and wildness and how it appeals. The only female of any profile here is Grandma; the one female to whom they are devoted and genuinely show their deep love. She pivots the film and it is her initial understanding of the basic needs of teen boys to bond which initiates the surfing gangs of Maroubra as seen in this generation. This is not to detract from BRA BOYS (that title might be a bit misleading for non English audiences though) because this documentary is ultimately a very rewarding and emotional display of astonishing family unity, care and unruly behavior. There are groan-worthy disappointments when the teens annoyingly bail up the local bus and terrorize the driver which is a rotten and stupid thing to do... but in a warts and all doco, makes a complete picture: idiots and arseholes last night but are taking a black dwarf surfing today. The three Abberton brothers of whom this is basically about, and their multicultural tribe of BRA BOYS now to be more Jackass than ever given the huge success of this film, will come out of this well, and I hope for the sake of everyone in Maroubra past and future take a more mature role and become tribal elders to a very influenced generation of young males. To bring this epic to the screen is a marvel in itself as this documentary is cobbled together from an enormous amount of out-of-focus footage, news clips, and wobble-cam images. The fact that it is absolutely compelling and ultimately emotional and well worth applause is a testament to the salvage expertise production crew and to the pursuit of this project by the Sydney film distributor, Troy Lum at Hopscotch Films. This house has been the source of some of the most interesting documentaries in recent years to hit local screens. His name is all over the film as it should be. BRA BOYS is a disgrace, but what a fantastic one. The final scenes of the multicultural make up of the gang is genuinely one of the proudest moments I have ever had in a cinema as an Australian and as a man one Maroubra generation ahead of this lot. Is Mark Whalberg is needed in a remake? We like our BRA BOYS exactly as they are. We saw DOGTOWN AND Z BOYS then the dumb LORDS OF DOGTOWN movie too. Beware.
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