Tag Archives: Luke Pittaway


Snowtown SnowtownFirst time director Justin Kurzel’s Snowtown is the latest instalment in the burgeoning genre of what can be called, for want of a better term, ‘underclass cinema’.

Animal Kingdom (2010), Samson and Delilah (2009), Boxing Day (2007), Candy (2006), The Boys (1998), and Idiot Box (1996) are all Australian examples of underclass cinema, as are US films like Winter’s Bone (2010) and Frozen River (2008), to name a few.

What they share is their almost forensic depiction of the criminal, sexual and psychological dysfunction of the underclass in Western post-industrial society. I don’t want to argue about whether these films are accurate or a stereotype. The answer is that most of the have elements of both.

Snowtown is set in the bleak housing estates of Adelaide’s northern suburbs. There’s lots of beige brick public housing, kids play with stolen supermarket trollies, and spent looking women fag on in front of poker machines.

Lest this needs further sign posting, within minutes of the film’s opening ground-down mother Elizabeth (Louise Harris) has let her boyfriend from across the road mind her three boys while she goes to Centrelink. He feeds them, then tells them to strip and photographs them. Their passive acquiesce to this abuse sets the tone for the rest of the film.… Read more