Snowtown

2012

Is it the Aussie Gummo, or a true-crime drama that takes itself way too seriously? Can it be both simultaneously? Inspired by real-life serial killings centered around a family in 1998 Southern Australia, this carnival of underclass misery aggregates an astounding amount of wrongdoing in one spot: pedophilia, kid porn, incestuous rape, animal cruelty, anarchic vigilantism, torture, drug abuse, and ordinary, routine murder, in the story of one hellaciously rotten suburban Adelaide neighborhood. What point is director Justin Kurzel trying to make, exactly? Kurzel and Shaun Grant adapted the screenplay from books by Debi Marshall and Andrew McGarry, respectively. If we can get past the shock value, actors Lucas Pittaway and Daniel Henshall give vivid perfs as a deadened teenage boy and his demented stepfather. (119 min.)

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