Posts Tagged ‘snowtown’

Daniel Henshall as John Bunting in Justin Kurzel’s Snowtown (Photo IFC Films)

I finally got around to watching Snowtown last night, after loads of people had told me to. Perhaps by myself in the dark at night wasn’t the best way to do it though. It was the performance of Daniel Henshall as John Bunting, Australia’s most infamous serial killer, which made it such a gripping and disturbing experience.

I flicked through the special features on the DVD, and I found the original casting clips of several of the characters. I watched Henshall’s and was impressed with his ability to carry the constant threat of violence, and lack of compassion even in audition. It is a chilling performance among many other great performances.

Throughout the film there was hardly a scene in which Henshall isn’t smiling, relishing in his power. The way in which he is shown manipulating all who are around him, and slowly tearing them apart is so much more horrifying for all the pleasure and lack of empathy he shows. He takes Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) to show him the bodies of Gavin and Barry, showing them off to him like trophies. This complete disconnection from the horror of his actions is confronting. He grooms Jamie to be a part of his sadistic, perverted lifestyle almost effortlessly; such is his charisma and ability to manipulate.

It is interesting to note that not once is the audience given a moment to feel sympathy, or a see a weakness in his character. He is positioned to be in control in every scene he is in. He is always loud, opinionated, and dominating in whatever conversation he is in. Yet, underneath his jovial and blokey manner, there is always the threat of violence, and the audience is enthralled, just waiting for him to explode. As the film is based on a true story, and a very well-known one at that, it is always a challenge to bring such infamous characters to life. Henshall creates the perfect portrait of a serial killer, exactly how I would have imagined him.