When 16 year old Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) is befriended by a charismatic local man John (Daniel Henshall) he has little idea of the world that awaits him. Friendly and welcoming, John gives no hint of the sadistic depravity of the crimes he is committing. Crimes that would shake Australia to its very core and leave Jamie an accomplice to some of the most horrific killings the world has ever seen.
Seriously disturbing study of a charismatic psychopath. Approach with caution.
- Snowtown review by RP
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You rated this film: 4
This is a seriously disturbing study of John Bunting, an Australian serial killer who murdered a dozen people in South Australia in the 1990s. It's a hard film to watch and I wouldn't call it entertainment.
It isn't a 'story' - this is real life, and the film is shot in a semi-documentary 'fly on the wall' style. Because of this and unless you know the people and background to the events it is somewhat confusing - if you do decide to view it I suggest you look up 'Snowtown murders' on Wikipedia to get a feel of who the characters are.
This isn't a horror film, it's more a film about how a charismatic psychopath invades the life of a needy, deprived family and seduces young James Vlassakis into a series of horrendous acts.
This is a tough watch and can't say that I 'enjoyed' this film, but it really is a tour de force of cinema. 4/5 stars - highly recommended, but approach with caution.
A young boy who lives on a housing estate with his mother and younger brothers feels trapped in his local barren and violent landscape. Yet when a man enters his mother’s life he may have found salvation in the strong and ever smiling father figure of John Bunting (Daniel Henshall).
Based on books written after a series of murder trials held in Adelaide, Australia, Snowtown is about the events that lead to the harrowing discovery of a series of human body parts that had been abandoned barrels in a rented former bank building. Eventually four people were convicted of the murders of twelve people after the remains of eight victims were discovered.
This strange and disturbing tale is told by a largely unknown cast, the star of which is by far and away Lucas Pittaway who plays Jamie, the fourteen year old boy who finds himself suddenly wrapped up in the whole grizzly debacle. His portrayal of the weak and impressionable young boy is outstandingly emotional; he displays a wealth of deep and mature emotions in the movies two hour run time.
The cast are probably the best thing about this film; unfortunately this narrative has not been crafted with a strong enough spine to carry through with enough clarity to truly let the performances shine. You can not help but find yourself somehow at sea; left to understand and decipher the mundane building blocks of the narrative – like how Bunting really came into the lives of this penniless family, he seems somehow to simply appear – as the movie is concentrating too much upon the turmoil and emotion of the events themselves.
Despite this I would highly recommend Snowtown if only to satisfy you’re most morbid sense of curiosity.