Snowtown portrays the grisly events of 1999 in Snowtown, a small suburb in Adelaide. 16-year-old Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) lives in a challenging environment; his mother, Elizabeth, is continually distressed, and his brothers continually abusive. One of his brothers, Troy, rapes him, and his mother’s boyfriend takes inappropriate pictures of all of the boys. Naturally, this upsets the whole family, including the mother, but the police appear to be unwilling to take action. Elizabeth is referred by a gay man named Barry to another man named John, who harbours extreme hatred for both paedophiles and gay people.
John chases Elizabeth’s boyfriend out of town, and ends up becoming a kind of father figure for Jamie. Johns views begin to take a toll on both Jamie, who’s reluctantly lured towards John’s beliefs, and on the neighbourhood in general, forcing Barry to break up with his younger boyfriend, Robert. One day, Jamie brings his friend Gavin to meet John, and John takes an instant dislike towards the boy. Sometime later, John and Robert take Jamie to their garden shed, where he finds the bodies of both Gavin and Barry. Jamie is shocked, and tries to get away, but ultimately can’t resist the will of John. After this event, Jamie is drawn deeper into the void of John’s quest, leading to even more ghastly events.
“The film is a chilling study of an evil, dominant personality and his victims. It works primarily through an astonishingly good performance by Daniel Henshall as Bunting.”
— Roger Ebert
“An impressive but exceptionally disturbing feature debut from Australian director Justin Kurzel that pushes the new wave of Aussie crime films up a notch.”
— Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com
Did You Know?
Daniel Henshall, who played the character of John in the film Snowtown, spent six weeks living in the Snowtown area, meeting local residents so as to better understand his character and the location. Director John Kurzel grew up only a few minutes away from where the killings occurred, and was hesitant to take on the sensitive subject as his debut feature, but felt that showing how something like this could happen was too compelling to ignore. Review our Gay Themed Films Here