‘The Snowtown Murders’, a strong directorial debut, showing great promise for a first time filmmaker
The Snowtown Murders
Directed by Justin Kurzel
Screenplay by Shaun Grant
First-time director Justin Kurzel and screenwriter Shaun Grant, using pointers from the books The Snowtown Murders and Killing for Pleasure, tell the story of John Bunting, Australia’s most notorious serial killer, whose modus operandi led to his 1990s killing spree – dubbed the “bodies in the barrels” case.
Snowtown is unrelentingly grim and terrifying – a strong directorial debut, showing great promise for a first time filmmaker. Director Justin Kurzel delivers a slow, effective burn, examining how one man’s harmful beliefs spread through a community in the most horrific way possible. Kurzel for the most part avoids sensationalistic, macabre or exploitative techniques. Well past the half-way mark, Snowtown is noticeably shy on demonstrating any direct depictions of the atrocities committed by Bunting. There is very little actual onscreen violence. Instead, scenes of rape, child molestation, and animal brutality take up the majority of the film’s first half. Snowtown shows the irrational paranoia and prejudice of a small community, and how Bunting carefully infected the minds of those around him – spotlighting the very worst attitudes in society. The result is depressing and at times unbearable to watch.
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