One of the most confronting movies that
had been put out in Australia by Australians, Romper Stomper heralded the
acting power of a young man named Russell Crowe. Playing the role of skinhead
leader Hando, Crowe leads a motley bunch of wanna be fascists in Footscray
against the apparent threat posed by the local Australian Vietnamese
community. After a violent bashing carried out by Hando and his cronies, the
Vietnamese decide that they have had enough of being the victims and that it's
time for retribution.
I think one of the most gobsmacking things
about this movie is it's no holds barred approach to storytelling. If it has
to get it's hands dirty, this script just went and did it. There was no effort
made to pretty anything up whatsoever and the savagery of the movie will leave
you speechless at times.
The movie shows viewers that despite it's
age (11 years), it is as relevant a film and as powerful as it was upon it's
initial release. From the skinheads headquarters in old warehouses through to
the Vietnamese family restaurants, the camera work for this title was
exquisite and certainly portrayed the harsh reality of the situation all sides
found themselves on.
Ironically, the film examines family and
loyalty from both sides of the coin and whilst the view is somewhat taken from
the skinhead side, you do not fully find yourself empathising with them, they
are after all, racist scum. However the friendship displayed toward each other
in scenes such as when Hando covers up an inebriated Davey (played by the late
Daniel Pollock - this was to be his last film as he was hit and killed by a
train shortly thereafter RIP), you do realise in their animalistic fashion,
these skinheads do love each other.
The transfer from the source medium has
been carried out with obvious attention to detail with no colour glitches or
sound problems for that matter. It can easily be said that the film is a joy
to watch and listen to from the perspective of technical concerns. The drab
colours and tones are carried throughout the feature perfectly and at no time
did I note anything that would have detracted from my enjoyment of the flick.
Finally there are surprisingly quite a few
extras that I certainly did not expect on a film completed before the advent
of DVD, it's just not the sort of film you'd expect people to have compiled
extras for. These include a number of interviews with the stars, photo
galleries and biographies. A very good assortment for an Australian classic.