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Australia 1992
Directed by
Geoffrey Wright
94 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Romper Stomper

This confronting look at Melbourne Neo-Nazi skinhead culture, written by director Geoffrey Wright and shot on Super 16mm, is inclined towards the social realist school and could easily be transposed to a British context with West Indians rather than Vietnamese as the object of yobbo violence. It is commendably free of exploitative, choreographed violence and Wright skilfully handles the major fight sequence midway through the film although the section involving the looting of Gabe's father house, obviously indebted to Clockwork Orange, is quite clumsily done. Aside from that, the film is let down by the dénouement on the beach which is a little too symbolic of the issues which the film generally canvasses well. Although not the sort of film to appeal to a general audience it is a memorably Australian take on the world-wide phenomenon of racist bigotry also explored in films such as Tony Kaye's 1998 American History X.

Romper Stomper was Russell Crowe's breakthrough screen role after having played likeable but unremarkable young fellows in films like Spotswood which was released the same year. Made on a budget of $AU1.68 million dollars, it took $ AU3.18  in theatrical sales was the second highest grossing film of 1992, after Strictly Ballroom.




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