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Reviews & Ratings for
The Snowtown Murders More at IMDbPro »Snowtown (original title)

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Confusing plot, but a well-made film with many strong points

Author: shaye22
5 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For casual viewers who don't know anything about the real case (look it up - very interesting/disturbing), this film is VERY hard to follow. The plot is quite disjointed and it would have benefited from probably a shorter duration and a more coherent flow for those who did not know much about the case. I found myself becoming disinterested in some of the long, drawn out scenes where I did not really understand what was happening. In retrospect, after researching the case, I will probably give the film a re-watch.

Other than that the film was solidly acted and had some very impressive, raw cinematography - the film was full of very simple, banal elements like power lines, water towers, naked trees, isolated landscapes and low ceilings of clouds… and while the film is set amongst this industrial ugliness and poverty/malaise of the outer suburbs, there is a lyrical, dreamlike beauty about the way this harsh world is presented, often in saturated, dark low light reminiscent of David Lynch, the early Cohen Brothers work and the similarly themed "Boys Don't Cry" (1999), which would be worth checking out if you enjoyed this one.


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Beyond entertainment.

Author: bennyhagen from Hungary
27 December 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well, I have some ambivalent feelings here. Surely Snowtown Murders deserves several awards for what it is. The raw portrait of psychopathy is fleshed out and probably perfect, delivered trough profound performances and classically skillful direction. Also, the agenda works on a level that few directors dare to, or even can work on, reflecting information in a way that it actually appears as meaningful as it can and should be. Also director Justin Kurzel refrains from any voyeurism where most other directors would have given in to the temptation. This is a serious theme and Kurzel threats it as such. And this is exactly the point. Putting some queer sense of enjoyment beside, this movie is not meant to be enjoyed and it probably can not be for most people. This serves it's agenda and it works, but you must ask yourself: is there entertainment for you beyond entertainment? Obviously, if you are a film student, there is a lot to gaze on here, but besides that, is there anything you can really get out of this movie that is worth voluntarily spending two hours of your life on? Unfortunately, to know, you must see for yourself.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Menacing, unforgettable and I cannot recommend.

Author: jonnytheshirt from United Kingdom
28 September 2012

This film haunts me still. Gritty, realistic and with absolutely no gloss Snowtown makes Saw or Silence of the Lambs look like soap operas. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire movie. Snowtown depicts the events surrounding Australia's biggest trail of serial killings. I found the acting and portrayal of the story based on these true events a real glimpse into the dark and evil aspect of human nature. I found the characters engrossing, the main ring leader being at turns charismatic and quietly scary as hell. The fear surrounding the young lead being manipulated I found palpable and the rest of the characters portrayed extremely well by a cast that reminded of people I've met. Which is why it scared the hell out of me and left a very lasting impression. Snowtown also reveals how holes in society allowed this to happen. No punches are pulled and the violence is certainly not there as shock value but as a statement of plain fact. I wouldn't recommend any one watch this and that some (like my girlfriend) simply do not. It is an unpleasant business that for me impacted precisely the evil of what happened and how with extremely disturbing themes. Because of that it is an extremely well made very adult movie.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Hard to watch, but worth seeing

Author: ali_michelle from Los Angeles, CA
2 November 2012

It's a very well directed, well-acted movie. Worth seeing, in that regard. However, the subject matter is so gruesome, and because it's directed so well, and acted so well, there is a realism to it that makes it hard to watch.

Every scene is well crafted, with masterful attention to even the most minute details. Because it is crafted so realistically, it almost seems like a documentary.

It's like being a silent witness to the horrendous and on-going atrocities of a psychopath. Your disbelief is fully suspended, and in every scene, you want justice to somehow prevail. And when it doesn't, you feel personally responsible for the outcome.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant but upsetting Australian drama.

Author: axlrhodes from United Kingdom
25 July 2012

Writer/director Justin Kerzel's first feature length film is a brilliant, harrowing ,and upsetting drama based on actual events surrounding a series of murders that took place in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, Australia in the late nineties. Sixteen-year-old Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) is surrounded by violence and abuse. When his mother brings her charismatic new boyfriend, John (Daniel Henshall) into the family home, he appears like a saviour, swiftly assuming control and 'taking care' of the bad issues directly affecting Jamie and his brothers. Even the most desensitised of viewers will find segments of this film almost unbearable. From the moment we meet John, we are ill at ease. It's fair to say that as the film progresses, so does this feeling. It's a huge performance from Daniel Henshall who plays his role with an astounding level of sustained, frightening intensity. There were moments when i could feel my heart beating faster, a sense of dread of what might be around the next corner, of what horror may lay in wait. It would be impossible to discuss the film without mentioning the performance of Lucas Pittaway. For a young actor making his screen debut, this is something truly special. It's through his character Jamie that the story is told, and Pittaway handles a tough, emotional role with astonishing poise. The film deals with terrible events in a way that never relishes in them, but aims to convey the devastating emotional impact. In fact, many of the more grisly events are implied rather than screened until one scene, an initiation of sorts for Jamie, which is so gut-wrenching in it's prolonged exposure, that it's barely watch-able. The end result is disturbing film full of brutality which will weigh heavily for a long time after viewing. This has truly been a great time for Australian cinema. With David Michod's mesmerising Animal Kingdom so fresh in the memory, and now Snowtown, it'll be interesting to see what comes next. 4/5

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Try and look away

Author: dreamcatcherdb
2 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The other reviewers are absolutely right, you try and look away but you just can't. It is a deeply disturbing, mesmerizing and unforgettable (unfortunately) glimpse of an horrific underbelly of society. Revulsion, fascination, frustration and disbelief churn in an increasingly unsettled stomach as the activities go through their awful gears and by the end you, like Bunting's victims, are begin for it to be over. And you yearn for Jamie to turn back on his way to Snowtown but you've been brought despite yourself to abandon all hope.

The cinematography is superb - bleak, grimy, huge yet claustrophobic.

The performances are astonishing - Henshall's demonic and seductive sparkling rides a razor's edge of tension in every single moment he is on screen. Lucas Pittaway's tortured mind works it's way through his every look. And there are no weak links anywhere.

Quite quite brilliant.

I'd have given the film 10 but I still don't feel right...

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Hard to watch but great film

Author: Tysoncarter from United Kingdom
14 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Snowtown is an Australian film based on the true story of 'The Snowtown Murders', also known as the 'Bodies in Barrels' murders, where 11 people in South Australia were murdered between August 1992 and May 1999. The crimes were uncovered when the remains of eight victims were found in barrels of acid located in a rented former bank building in Snowtown on 20 May 1999.

Living in the United Kingdom I was unfamiliar with the murders, but as a big fan of true stories I thought I would check this out. What I saw was a horrifying film and something which really shows how little some people value the human life.

The film starts by introducing us to the lead character, a young boy named Jamie. He lives a dull and uneventful life, in which his distressed mother Elizabeth looks after him and his younger brothers, and he lacks a father figure. One day his mother's boyfriend takes indecent photographs of the boys - which we are shown from the top up but this scene is beyond creepy - and since the police are reluctant to intervene, Elizabeth is contacted by Barry, a gay man who introduces her to John.

John despises paedophiles and homosexuals, so he helps Jamie's family out and deals with the boyfriend by continually harassing him until he is forced to leave the town, making him seem like a hero and therefore John assumes the role of Jamie's father figure.

As the film develops and Jamie befriends John, he is slowly drawn into his homophobic and violent tendencies, and soon realises that he is within John's control, unable to escape because of his charismatic and intimidating dominance. This is when the focus of the film shifts, from a slow burning start where the boys are meeting a new father-like figure to the realisation that John is out of control and Jamie is taken along for the ride. Towards the end of the film things get a lot more brutal. Whilst some action is implied or happening off camera, we do see some pretty gruesome torture scenes and an awful rape scene.

Whilst being hard to watch, Snowtown also made it nearly impossible to look away as I didn't want to miss anything. The houses, sets, clothing, TV's etc, it was perfect in it's authenticity and made me feel like I was back in the 90's. There was a real gritty look and feel to the experience, and like most true stories I'm sure some liberties were taken to fill in the gaps between the murders, Snowtown really was an impressive film and one I'm glad I managed to see. It's tricky to recommend this to everyone, but for those that like true stories and can overlook some occasional blood and gore this is well worth checking out.

For more reviews please check out my blog

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

very tedious and confusing film

Author: nishy2012 from Beverley, England
27 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this film get good reviews and thought I would give it a go, like you do. I sat through it to the end even though nothing really seemed to happen and the events in the film were quite random and I did start hoping it would finish soon. I think the film-makers were assuming people would have prior knowledge of the events of the film before viewing it, as it seemed to veer from scene to scene quite randomly, i got the gist of what was happening but it was not really compulsive viewing. The story matter is based on real-life events and I found it to be grim viewing, with little reward or insight into the characters, and I felt the boy playing the lead was not very interesting to watch. I guess I expect to be entertained or gain some insight into something when I watch a film but in this case neither of these things happened. Quite dull all in all.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Like watching mentally ill people

Author: thebogofeternalstench from New Zealand
9 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So, another indie film praised to be blah blah amazing etc whatever.

Films starts off with a confusing monologue to passing fields filmed from inside a car.

Main character barely speaks at all....gets raped by his brother......acts like it never happened....????

Main character Jamie (who is aged 15/16 or around that) lets a paedophile take nude pictures of himself and his younger that even realistic???? Is this guy a retard with no brain and just lets people abuse him constantly? He is a puppet throughout this film.

Mum gets a new boyfriend whos a serial killing psychopath and kills quite a few people throughout the film without her knowing, and by the way where the hell is she during all these violent scenes in the film? Shes NEVER there.

We find out that Jamie is a schizophrenic so could explain his behaviour to everything happening around him. BUt by this point in the film I'm losing track of what is going on.

Sorry but this film is so disjointed and its like watching a film about mentally ill people.

There is a nasty graphic bathroom scene which involves the serial killer slowly killing Jamie's brother, the one who raped him. Seriously, what is the point???? What is the point in showing him chop up dead kangaroos also????

I never believe the reviews by critics and the like but I at least expected this to be a well made film and its not. It's a incoherent mess which relies on violence to make an impression.

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7 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful, dark story.

Author: to_see_you_smile_again from Australia
1 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was incredibly impressed by this film. Especially considering that it was the director's first film debut & none of the actors were professionally trained. The film is dark & grim, but considering what actually happened, it was an easy watch. Take this for example, "Frederick Brooks received electric shocks to his penis and testicles, and had a burning sparkler pushed down into his penis; after his toes were crushed and his nose and ears burned with cigarettes, he was allowed to choke to death on his gag." Although a little dark at times, it was filmed beautifully. I love Australian movies, and I am fascinating by serial killers, so all in all, I immensely enjoyed this. If you don't have a weak stomach, and you can patiently watch a story unfold then I recommend this to you.

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