“We all remember being sixteen. I think I was juggling A-levels I didn’t really want to do (Economics and sociology) with a life that, inexplicably, didn’t involve wine. Weird. Not as odd as Jamie’s (Lucas Pittaway) though, who longs for an escape from the violence that surrounds him in Adelaide’s northern suburbs. His salvation arrives in the form of John (Daniel Henshall), a charismatic man who unexpectedly comes to his aid.
Sounds sweet enough. Then comes the disappearance of several people and Jamie begins to harbour deep suspicions about John and his motivations. He has a point. Jamie’s hopes of happiness are threatened by both his loyalty for, and fear of, John Bunting, Australia's most notorious serial killer.
Directed by first-timer Justin Kurzel, Snowtown is grim enough to warrant your attention but offers little insight into why Bunting (Henshall's performance is terrifying) chose to do what he did so efficiently. Too many times, Bunting comes across as the good guy, helping us rid the world of paedophiles, tainted homosexuals and fat people. And Kurzel seems to enjoy shocking us, whether it's dogs being shot, victims tortured in lengthy scenes, or obese people undressing. A film that fascinates but fails to fulfil, Snowtown does nothing for Adelaide, and nothing to justify a second look.” DW