romperheader.jpg (16390 bytes)ROMPER STOMPER:
Director: Geoffrey Wright
Writer: Geoffrey Wright
Also starring: Jacqueline McKenzie (Gabe), Daniel Pollock (Davey), Alex Scott (Martin), Leigh Russell (Sonny Jim)
Click here to read fan reviews

Hm, not necessarily the best film to open your "meet Russell Crowe" film festival. Gut reaction: terrifying, a really scary story, scenes that gave me the creeps big time. Of course, all this is precisely why I was taken in by it. It has been said that much of Irish film is imbued with the claustrophobia of a people who sense themselves trapped on an island. Okay, so maybe the Australians do not sense themselves trapped on an island, but this story has all the claustrophobia of a culture that wants a little more space.

romperreading.jpg (11055 bytes)The story gallops along, following the path of some memorably ambiguous characters. A peculiar, compellingly self-interested and vulnerable epileptic drifter meets Hando, ferociously charismatic neo-nazi skinhead leader, and Davey, Hando's redemption-seeking lieutenant.

All hell breaks loose, it's (more) chaos (than usual) in neo-naziland.
The breaking point is when our protagonists and their antagonist come to the edge of the earth. The sea washes away sins (or at least dissolves them!) but it is also a most immovable boundary.
romperDavey.jpg (12679 bytes)The film leaves us with a peculiar sense of positive closure, though the events leading to this closure make the happy ending taste rather dilute.

romperAttack.jpg (12192 bytes)One point I wonder about: I read somewhere on the web that the film's title was related to an Australian children's tv show called Romper Room.  Ahem, I don't remember Miss whatshername having an Australian accent, and I don't know why such a tv show host would lead little Australian kids in a ritualistic pledge of allegiance to the star spangled banner every morning.  Anyone who knows who was Romping first, please do tell!


5crowe.gif (2095 bytes)A very ugly film. Brutal. Well-done, intense, and scary.
Rated: Five Crowes

4crowe.gif (2068 bytes)Shocking, violent, and compelling, this movie is not for the
faint-hearted. Romper Stomper depicts a realistic picture of what life within a Skin-head group is like.

The movie takes place in Melbourne over the course of a few days and
documents the struggle of the group to maintain their territory, which they
feel is being invaded by foreigners.

The group's leader, Hando (Russell Crowe), guides the group in the fight and
acts as a father of sorts to his "family" of misfits.

Russell is transformed in this part, both physically and in his delivery.
His appearance is so far removed from any previous film, that he may not be
recognizable at first. He appears complete with skinned head and multiple,
body- covering tattoos. His immersion into this role is so thorough and
complete that even the most loyal Russell fan will be hard pressed to feel
any positive feelings for Hando, however he still manages to elicit sympathy
as his world crumbles around him. You'll hate him, but you'll find that you
feel sorry for him (to a certain degree). Russell's acting is so pure in
this movie that the viewer will find him/herself questioning whether or not
there is a skin-head skeleton in his closet.

Without a doubt, this was Russell's movie from start to finish. He delivers
an unflinching, menacing performance which earned him an AFI award for Best
Actor. There is no denying that this (at the time of its release) was his
best performance to date, and some feel that it still is.

Violence, graphic sex and controversial subject matter may make potential
viewers think twice about rental or purchase, but do not let this stop you.
At the end of this movie, you will have a better understanding as to what it
is about Russell that makes him undeniably male.

Viewer beware: you will probably see haunting shades of Hando in every
subsequent Russell performance. However, this is not a bad thing, as it
will serve to remind you just how very versatile he is.

Rated: four crowes

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