Snowtown (2011)

Feature Film | Crime Drama | Australia | English | 1h59m
Dir: Justin Kurzel | Scr: Shaun Grant | Story: Shaun Grant & Justin Kurzel | Books: Debi Marshall & Andrew McGarry | DP: Adam Arkapaw | Prod: Anna McLeish & Sarah Shaw | Mus: Jed Kurzel | Ed: Veronika Jenet | PD: Fiona Crombie | Cast: Daniel Henshall, Lucas Pittaway, Louise Harris, Frank Kwertniak, Matthew Howard, Marcus Howard, Anthony Groves, Richard Green, Aaron Viergever
With quite some skill, but not much in the way of humanity, Kurzel’s grubby little slice-of-low-life drama translates to the screen the factual tale of Australia’s Worst Serial Killer, John Bunting, who, in South Australia between 1992 and 1999, aided by a number of other willing/not-so-willing accomplices, tortured and murdered eleven people he deemed to be perverts, stealing their benefits in the process. What humanity there is in the film is embodied almost entirely by the notable performance of Lucas Pittaway, playing the teenaged son of Bunting’s common-law wife, who is slowly coaxed into his stepfather's violent way of life. Henshall, as Bunting himself, is also – like most of the cast – quietly impressive. And the film in general is very well crafted, with Arkapaw’s cold, shallow-focus photography being particularly eye-catching. However, Grant‘s screenplay relies just a little too heavily on the viewer having some kind of prior knowledge of the case, and the overall effect of the film is just so unremittingly bleak that it is often decidedly difficult to watch, even with most of the violence happening off screen.