Blu-Ray Review: Snowtown

Family together

Much of Australia is arid, inhospitable and entirely unforgiving country. Twenty percent desert, the majority of the central belt is uninhabitable and yields little or no rewards. It’s this climate which seems to have honed much of its national cinema. A certain no-nonsense brutality and muscularity which dominates the likes of Animal Kingdom, Wake in Fright, Romper Stomper, Chopper and Wolf Creek. Snowtown is the epitome of a challenging film to watch.

After being abused by his mother’s (Louise Harris) last boyfriend, 16-year-old Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) isn’t exactly cock-a-hoop when she brings another one, John (Daniel Henshall), into their home in a poor suburb of Adelaide. However, this charismatic and straight-talking new father-figure wins him over with a mixture of tough love and harsh kindness. Although, Jamie suspects that all his talk of meting-out justice to paedophiles and homosexuals is more than just hot air.

The Snowtown Murders is the worst serial killing case in Australian history and Justin Kurzel’s film certainly pulls no punches. Indeed, it’s very difficult to watch at times, featuring torture, rape and animal cruelty, amongst other things. However, these actions are never sensationalised and the great strength of Snowtown, aside from superb acting performances, is the way it shows how domination, fear and control operate on vulnerable people.  

Brand New Extras:

• The Boy from Gawler: An interview with director Justin Kurzel

• In At the Deep End: An Interview with actor Lucas Pittaway

• Commentary with film critics Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson

• Limited Edition Booklet: Features ‘Violence in the Suburbs’ by Thomas Caldwell and ‘Raw Horror:

Social Realism in Snowtown’ by Martyn Conterio

• Limited Edition rigid box packaging with new artwork by Thomas Walker

Additional Extras:

• Commentary with director Justin Kurzel

• Deleted scenes with commentary

• Original casting footage and EPK interviews

• The Snowtown Crimes

• Theatrical trailer

Snowtown is released on limited edition Blu-ray by 101Films on 31 January 2022.

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