Arguably the most disturbing, least sensationalistic serial killer movie since Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, director Justin Kurzel’s stark, enormously accomplished debut feature recounts the horrifying crimes discovered in Snowtown, Australia in 1999, where police found dismembered bodies rotting in barrels. In Adelaide’s poor, desolate northern suburbs, single mother Elizabeth Harvey (Louise Harris) is raising her teenage son Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) and his two younger brothers. After her latest boyfriend displays pedophilic tendencies, she takes up with a new man, John Bunting (Daniel Henshall), hoping for security but unknowingly welcoming an even more vicious predator into her home. Bunting is the moral compass among a circle of friends who hold self-appointed neighborhood watch meetings at the kitchen table, casting judgments on those living around them. When Bunting enlists his crew in acts of sadistic vigilantism on those he considers deviants, Jamie, in a mix of misdirected hero worship and terror, becomes an accomplice to a spree of torture and murder. Winner of a special mention from Critics’ Week jury president Lee Chang-dong at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, Snowtown takes us on an unforgettable journey into a feral subculture of welfare dependence, addiction, domestic violence, brutality, and sexual abuse.
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