Snowtown review

A chilling portrait of Australia’s most prolific serial killer

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In this case it’s troubled teen Jamie Vlassakis (Lucas Pittaway) who can only watch, wonder and obey as the charismatic John Bunting (the extraordinary Daniel Henshall) inveigles his way in as de facto stepfather. Although he seems affable enough, Bunting’s actually a vicious murderer intent on cleaning the streets of paedophiles, homosexuals and wastrels. And he has no compunction about training up Jamie as an accomplice.

One disconnected sequence shows Bunting disinterestedly munching an egg mayonnaise sandwich while a morbidly obese woman undresses in front of him. Another features one of the most protracted acts of torture seen in some years, lengthened by distressing will-he-won’t-he? feints.

Whatever you make of Kurzel’s methodology (not to mention Bunting’s), there’s no denying that the director has a talent for telling details, and the film’s combination of raw performances, unobtrusive, over-theshoulder cinematography and unflinching darkness will snare even the strong-stomached like snake food.

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Freelance Writer

Matt Glasby is a freelance film and TV journalist. You can find his work on Total Film - in print and online - as well as at publications like the Radio Times, Channel 4, DVD REview, Flicks, GQ, Hotdog, Little White Lies, and SFX, among others. He is also the author of several novels, including The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film and Britpop Cinema: From Trainspotting To This Is England.