500 Days Of Film Reviews Snowtown And Finds A Hard To  Watch, Horrific True Story

Jaime lives with his mother and two younger brothers in a disenfranchised suburb of Adelaide in South Australia.

He is deeply unhappy and feels frustrated with his life, its lack of stability and hope. 

Things change meets John. John is a charismatic man who starts to turn Jamie’s house into a home.

He provides the whole family with the support and structure that they so desperately crave.

John soon becomes a mentor for Jamie - showing him how to make his way in the world and how to protect himself from those who would do him harm. 

However, Jamie realises that John is not all he seems and that his protector is by far the most dangerous person in his life.

However, by then it is far too late.

Is It Any Good?

Snowtown is based on the true story of John Bunting - Australia’s notorious serial killer. 

It would be bad enough if this film was just a horror movie but the fact that it is based on real events makes the whole experience almost unbearable.

Director, Justin Kurzel, tells his story extremely well. Jamie (played brilliantly by Lucas Pittaway) leads a hopeless life.

Before he has even met John, he and his brothers have been abused by his mother’s boyfriend. Filled with rage, he doesn’t know what to do with his anger. This makes him a perfect disciple for John - who shows him a way to achieve revenge and retribution.

In his own sick eyes, John (superbly portrayed by Daniel Henshall) is an avenging angel. He hands out justice to those who have committed horrible acts against others. Using his charisma and his penchant for brutal violence, he surrounds himself with people willing to help him.

However, his targets become increasingly random (some are picked just for being ‘weak’ in John’s eyes). By the time Jaime realises the full horror of John’s murdering madness, he is beyond salvation.

At the end, my husband asked me if I had enjoyed Snowtown. I had to think for a long time before answering. 

To be honest, this is a film that I appreciated - for the storytelling, the performances and for the film’s look and tone. It has something important to say about how we treat people who have been abused and disenfranchised. How could these murders have been prevented?

In the end, Snowtown is not a film that we are supposed to enjoy - it is a story that we have to learn from and hope never happens again.

Random Observations

There are many shocking scenes in this movie. Scenes of horrific violence that are a tough watch even when the horror is implied rather than shown. 

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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