It is also one of the most impressive, skillfully crafted Australian films ever made and represents a new high-water mark for hyper-realistic studies of serial killers.
Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) is a vulnerable 16-year-old living in a squalid estate in Adelaide’s northern suburbs and John Bunting (Daniel Henshall – read our interview on P28) is the self-styled community leader and vigilante who becomes a father figure to Jamie, presenting as the most likeable bloke in an irredeemably fucked-up part of the world. Bunting is also, of course, Australia’s most prolific serial killer, a man convicted of 11 murders – the notorious ‘the bodies in barrels’ case. In tracing the relationship between Jamie and Bunting, Snowtown charts the loss of innocence as the teenager becomes increasingly complicit in the killings. There are powerfully authentic performances from the entire cast – many are first-time actors recruited from the area – but the film’s great triumph is in evoking the blighted, outer suburban milieu that incubated Bunting. It is a world of ugly, misshapen individuals and utter hopelessness. Accordingly, when the killing begins, it feels inevitable, chillingly matter-of-fact. Throughout, director Justin Kurtzel builds an atmosphere of slow-burning dread, before raising the ante in a beautifully shot, near-wordless finale which unspools like a nightmare with the sound turned down. A remarkable, savagely uncompromising film.

Good for: Those who don’t like happy endings


Starring: Lucas Pittaway, Daniel Henshall | 18 | 119mins

Film review: Tom Sturrock

Read our interview with Daniel Henshall here

Also showing:

Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill |
12A | 133mins

Sport films can suck balls, so let’s hope Mr Jolie knows what he’s doing with this baseball epic, which tells the underdog tale of the Oakland Athletics, who, despite having very little cash, punch above their weight by adopting unorthodox new recruiting strategies. It’s been well-reviewed, so hopefully it’s more Any Given Sunday than Rollerball – the insipid remake with Chris Klein and Rebecca Romijn, that is.

On general release from November 25

On general release

A comedy about cancer – well, why not? Seth Rogen, the chubby stoner from Knocked Up, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the kid with the girly hair from 3rd Rock From The Sun, star as Kyle and Adam, best friends whose relationship is tested when Kyle is diagnosed with the disease. Together, they laugh, love and hopefully learn a little something about themselves along the way. Feelgood movie of the year. Yay.