RAW: Film – Snowtown – 5K

A desperate and despicable home life sees young Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) seeking a role model that he can actually rely on. When John Bunting (Daniel Henshall) enters his mother’s (Elizabeth – Louise Harris) tired, hopeless world, it looks like that person may have finally arrived.

From there the seedy under life of Adelaide’s northern suburbs – nobodies, freaks, poofs and perverts whose existence is not much noted by any – comes in for a demonic smashing.

The Shaun Grant screenplay is superb, the Adam Arkapaw cinematography is flawless but notwithstanding, all the plaudits in the production team must be focused on director Justin Kurzel in this his first full length feature. His grasp of pace, scene and suspense is more usually associated with that of a Hollywood master director. Dealing with such fraught subject matter can lead to melodrama or an obsession with gore but his depictions of Bunting’s insatiable sadism and the mental destruction of Jamie are compelling, wholly believable and totally assured. One remains writhing in horror throughout but compelled to witness what may come next.

The interjections amongst the carnage of the real world by way of cricket, fishing and game shows blaring out from the TV prevent the audience from distancing themselves, to believing that this is a story of some other place, but not of my world.

For one with no prior acting experience, Lucas Pittaway’s Jamie is a sensation. His range of emotions is all class, his good looks a sure bet to gain our sympathy. Physically he may remind one of Heath ledger or even James Franco but this performance rivals Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar winning performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

At the end of the day, Daniel Henshall is no less impressive. The modern cinema embodiment of evil, abundantly plain but with a charismatic and manipulative character, Henshall delivers on not only the sadism but Bunting’s controlling nature and an assured ability to assess a situation. It would be a shame if his performance got lost in the hype (albeit well deserved) for Pittaway. Louise Harris also puts in a wonderful performance as Jamie’s mother.

This film has many overtones with last year’s hit, Animal Kingdom but it is no ‘me too’ film. It has already won a prize at the Adelaide Film Festival and recently a showing at Cannes. Its award winning chronology has only just begun.

This is an Australian cinema classic and while there is nothing uplifting about the story, it will leave you pondering what world we exactly live in when this can happen seemingly just up the road. The profound sadness for the victims, those dead and still alive, will stay with you long after you have left the cinema.

Krzytoff Rating   5K

See our interviews and profile of Lucas Pittaway at:  Meet Lucas Pittaway

See our video interview at: Pittaway Talks About Snowtown

See our interview with director Justin Kurzel on page 2 of this month’s Kryztoff at: Kryztoff\’s On-line Magazine

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