A Week In Film #154: Dirt, death & haberdashery

Impeccable telling of the real life ‘Snowtown murders’ in suburban South Australia, where banality and evil intersected.

Justin Kurzel directs Shaun Grant’s bleak, unflashy script with real feeling for the ridiculous, murderous escalations, resisting the ‘go big’ temptations so many succumb to, avoiding cliché, instead just letting things unfold – sometimes on screen, sometimes between scenes.

Daniel Henshall as principal psychopath John Bunting is realistically scary; Aaron Viergever convinces as second-in-command Robert Wagner; David Walker is suitably pathetic as hanger-on Mark Haydon. Lucas Pittaway as victim-turned-victimiser James Vlassakis is best of all. Blank, but never empty.

An earlier, slightly more conventional pre-Hunger Maze hunger strike film, co-written by strike survivor Laurence McKeown and ex-prisoner Brian Campbell, directed by Les Blair (GF Newman’s Law And Order).

Good cast, including Brendan Mackey (Touching The Void, Dean Lennox Kelly (early Shameless), plus a whole load of newcomers and unknowns giving their all.

Pretty In Pink
Always nice to retread some John Hughes. This one’s from his more reflective period, with working class Molly Ringwald falling for sensitive rich kid Andrew McCarthy, whilst friends Annie Potts (the older one) and Jon Cryer (the wackier one) circle round each other.

Howard Deutch directs, cinematographer Tak Fujimoto provides luxuriant purples and pinks, and there’s excellent supporting performances from Harry Dean Stanton as Molly’s dad and James Spader as a total prick.

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