There was a rationale used by the British censor, the BBFC, in regard to the film LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT that connects well here. That film was banned originally for some of its content and equally, in the words of the organisation, its whole ‘ambiance’. That could be said for many films but it is especially true for SNOWTOWN, the 2011 Australian film from director Justin Kurzel. The film has a overwhelming, unbearable feeling of misery and menace within it. A prevalence of evil that simply drips off the screen. Thankfully the BBFC didn’t intervene in this release, charting as it does, a series of real events that saw one of Australia’s most horrific crimes.

Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) is from the margins of society. He has lost out on a normal life, thanks to his drunk mother and abusive step father. When his mother meets a charismatic man called John Bunting (Daniel Henshall). This begins a friendship which creates a series of happy moments and then a bunch of nasty, horrific events. As the relationship grows more, it is harder for Jamie to avoid the horrors of casual murder of paedophiles, drug addicts and homeless.  Bunting creeping desire to hurt, leads to abuse, psychic unbalance and plaguing fears that they might be next in the evil. Australia’s most notorious serial killer forces all to do his bidding. Creating accomplices and crafting Judas cows to his satanic messiah.

101 Films limited have been sending out some rather excellent Blu ray editions. So have Second Sight, Arrow, 88 Films and Criterion to be fair. SNOWTOWN, is a rather odd release in a few ways. The rigid box is lovely. Nice art, nice heft, good quality. The release is of standard quality, in that it is a 1080p release, however it is a grunge, grainy film (similar to HENRY : POASK). The new commentary from Australian film critics Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson is exemplary. Brilliant, insightful about the events that surround the film and also the future work of director Kurzel. He interestingly also has a commentary that is more focused on the actual making of the film, with a little nod here and there to the Snowtown murders. For me however it was the booklet that was exceptional. One essay focuses on the violence ingrained in Australian culture. The other reflects, rather intelligently, about the use of the real over the ‘realism’.

Special Features
The Boy from Gawler: An interview with director Justin Kurzel (NEW)
In At the Deep End: An Interview with actor Lucas Pittaway (NEW)
Commentary with film critics Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Josh Nelson (NEW)
Limited Edition Booklet: Features ‘Violence in the Suburbs’ by Thomas Caldwell and ‘Raw Horror: Social Realism in Snowtown’ by Martyn Conterio (NEW)
Limited Edition rigid slipcase packaging with new artwork by Thomas Walker
Commentary with director Justin Kurzel
Deleted scenes with commentary
Original casting footage and EPK interviews
The Snowtown Crimes
Theatrical trailer

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