The Snowtown Murders


Action / Biography / Crime / Drama / History / Horror / Mystery

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 84%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 66%
IMDb Rating 6.6 10 17425

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Uploaded By: OTTO
October 19, 2011 at 06:30 PM



Daniel Henshall as John Bunting
Lucas Pittaway as Jamie Vlassakis
751.70 MB
English 2.0
24.000 fps
1 hr 59 min
P/S 1 / 13

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by evan_harvey 7 / 10

Quite good, but can be confusing

Before you watch this film, I recommend going to YouTube and watch a doco titled "Serial Killers - The Bodies in the Barrels". It's about 40 mins long, but fills in a lot of details that you might struggle to understand in the film.

Snowtown is actually quite a good film, but I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it without watching the doco beforehand. It focuses more on the people involved (and is quite a masterful film in that sense - great cinematography), and is quite restrained in its depiction of what actually happened. The major flaw is that you really have no context for a lot of what is happening - people, timeline etc. The doco I mention fills in a lot of the blanks and makes the film far more powerful.

The film is told from the point of view of James Vlassakis. The narrative doesn't really display the true horror of what happened precisely because it is about James, and what he saw/was involved in. He becomes involved in the killings towards the end, but they had been going on for some time. Unfortunately, I think that means that the real horror of the events go largely unnoticed. That is both good in that it really is told from the perspective of James, which I appreciated after watching the doco and also bad, in that the audience doesn't get to see just how horrific and depraved the killings were.

Because I had watched the doco prior to the film, I knew what the other killers had been doing, and at what point James became involved and why. Without that context, I think the film will feel a bit dull to a lot of people. Seeing as I knew what was happening (but is not shown in the narrative), it helped to contextualise it, and also appreciate the narrative as being told from James's point of view. The doco delves into James's character a little bit, and that helps the film.

(EDIT:) For instance, the doco points out (or at least theorizes) the reason why Bunting and the others were murdering people. The film doesn't really address this. Perhaps the truth is just too complicated for a narrative film. I can appreciate that. However, there's a lot of unanswered questions (both from the doco and the film, although the film doesn't delve into those too much). The mother of James Vlassakis was herself involved in at least one of the killings (although the film doesn't depict this). Some of the characters actually helped kill people, and then were killed themselves. The film doesn't say why.

Without some context and background info, it can be hard to sort out the characters. This is both a strength and a weakness of the film.

I can remember when this story broke, and the news all reported that the killings were motivated by money. Bunting and the others would impersonate the dead people and collect their welfare cash. The doco claims quite a different story. It notes that Bunting seemed to target suspected pedophiles, and had a "spider wall" - a chart - of suspects on his wall. This is seen in the film, but not really explained. I personally wonder if the money/fraud aspect (which did indeed happen) drew some people in to assist in the killings, whilst the core group of Bunting and others were motivated by more sinister intent.

One significant part is that after the final murder, Bunting and another man actually cooked and ate part of their victim. That's not the actions of people who are just killing to commit fraud. I don't fault the film for not showing that, but it gives an insight into the true nature of the actual events. Although I praise the film highly, I do so having previously digested and read about what happened. In that context, as I've said, the film is excellent, and one of the best Aussie films made. It's dark, gripping, harrowing and throughly compelling. (END EDIT)

It's quite slow, but has an inexorable pull to it. The acting feels quite authentic. Bunting's character seemed a little too young, at least compared to how he looks in real life.

Despite being called Snowtown, most of the murders happen in Adelaide. Snowtown was where they discovered the bodies after the killers moved them from Adelaide.

Watch the doco on youtube, and then settle in for an engrossing film that is really very good (if a little too long). Watch it without seeing the doco, and you might be bored.

7 out of 10.

Reviewed by adrimir 10 / 10

A realistic nightmarish movie

Until this movie and after, absolutely all the movies with psychopaths are a joke. Hollywood movies, horrors, gore films, psychological thrillers and so on are pitiful. None can surprise the reality of a psychopath, more frightening than any fiction, like this movie. Now, I only want to miss this nightmare, although I am proud to have healed myself from any pseudo- psychological understanding of the psychopath. I recommend it the ones less weakest heart in order just to get rid of the same delusions as mine, about the 'humanity of psychopath' - the oxymoron that creates the illusion that you can deal with a psychopath untouched of psychic traumas if you are lucky enough not to be killed by him from pure pleasure.

Reviewed by BA_Harrison 5 / 10

Poor Skippy!

Snowtown, based on a true story, takes place just North of Adelaide, Australia, where a vulnerable young man, Jamie (Lucas Pittaway), falls in with a psychopath, John (Daniel Henshall), who has an intense hatred for paedophiles, gays, the obese, and drug users. Beginning with the harassment of a perverted neighbour (by chucking kangaroo parts onto his doorstep), John, Jamie, and a couple of other cohorts escalate their attacks, turning to murder.

Unrelentingly grim from start to finish, Snowtown certainly isn't easy viewing, its authentic white trash characters and realistic 'wrong side of the tracks' setting adding to the downbeat atmosphere. Rather surprisingly, the film isn't all that gory (graphic kangaroo dismemberment aside), with even the most brutal death scene, that of Jamie's older brother Troy (Anthony Groves), being relatively bloodless. Perhaps the hardest moment to stomach is Troy sodomising his helpless younger brother: now THAT was nasty.

Director Justin Kurzel's style takes a little getting used to (the first few scenes are fairly confusing) and there are one or two scenes that I'm still not entirely sure what purpose they serve, but overall Kurzel does a passable job for his full length debut. It's no Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer, but Snowtown is worth watching at least once for those who are fascinated by the darker side of the psyche.

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