The Snowtown Murders is one of those rare three-headed baby movies: I know I shouldn't stare, but I can't take my eye off it. Masterfully directed by Justin Kurzel. Almost everyone in this film is a first timer including director Justin Kurzel. One of the few "vet" actors, Daniel Henshall makes the charismatic John Bunting a farther figure who manipulates those who look to him for guidance. That is really an understatement. This movie makes No Country for Old Men look like an episode of The Monkees.
The phrase "the banality of evil" is quite appropriate here. Single mom Lizzie lives in a bleak, forgotten suburb with four teenage boys. She's just dumped a not-so-great man friend and the mind numbingly boring days stretch on. Enter John Bunting. The food gets better; bacon and even snow peas are common place. Oddly enough, John seems to always have a hearty appetite. Birthday parties at the skating rink, ice cream and a macabre bag of tricks. Ariel Castro showed us that a seemingly normal guy can live a disturbing and sinister other life right under everyone's nose. John Bunting is such a bloke.
Do not be mistaken; this is a disturbing film to watch. There aren't a lot of difficult scenes, but the unspeakable events in those scenes, and trust me, I couldn't watch the entire scene in some cases are so raw and real. This isn't gratuitous violence either. I think the world needs to see John Bunting's violence for what is was. He didn't act alone. I think this is the most disturbing thing for me - he managed to not only get 2 other blokes in the 'hood to help out, but also managed to get 16 year old Jamie Vlassaski to join in on the torture and killing of friends and relatives.
The sound track is disturbing in its own right; a staccato track of scratches and scrapes that mimic the victim's time in the tub. Justin Kurzel gets the details right - junk cars with ripped seats, outdoor ash trays sitting in the rain, and cheap, thin torn wall paper.
Watch…because you must. Don't blame me if you can't stop.