Snowtown is a beautifully lit and cold, blue hued film about the horrors elicit in circumstance.
Rachel Fuller
Published on May 10, 2011


Snowtown. Everyone seems to have an opinion on whether or not this film should have been made and it usually ends with, 'Oh, I just don't think I could sit through it.' And rightly so. It is the horrific true story of the murders of twelve people over a seven year period in the outer housing commission suburbs of Adelaide. It is not easy viewing, certainly not The Hangover 2.

Australian cinema has historically done bleak quite well though. Our stories are often dark, sparsely dialogued tales of the interior and for whatever reason (PhD anyone?) we know how to frame these fables. And Snowtown is no exception. For a whole bunch of feature film first timers (director, producers, screenplay writer, local actors plucked from malls), Snowtown is a beautifully lit and cold, blue hued film about the horrors elicit in circumstance.

Told from the viewpoint of young, Jamie Vlassakis, a sixteen year old boy who becomes involved in the murders through the charismatic charm and the three meat and veg stability of ringleader, John Bunting, Snowtown is not a gore fest reveling in the details of the bodies in the barrels. Rather, the film explores the way in which silence was an occupying force in Jamie's life and that of the community surrounding the hideous events. At times, it is extremely hard to believe just how forcefully silence set up camp but the power of the film ultimately stems from the fact that this happened, this is how people reacted, this is what they did, it is our history.

Be prepared for a couple of scenes that will probably go down on par with the roo shooting scene in Wake in Fright. They are not gratuitous but serve to illustrate the power that John Bunting yielded in the absence of a masculine force in Jamie's life. No empathy is ever sought from the audience but perhaps an understanding of the way in which circumstance permeates every decision we make.


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