Here’s the thing with film festivals, you may head into them thinking that you already know what the “must see” films are but inevitably, the real surprises and pleasures aren’t easily predictable and arise from smaller flicks that thanks to word of mouth begin to take on a life and shape of their own. Such was the case with “Snowtown,” a film that played the Cannes Critic’s Week sidebar back in May (and took home a FIPRESCI Prize) and was a picture we heard murmurs about before we left for France, and once we arrived on the Croisette was something that kept coming up in conversation. And after turning heads — and revolting many — in Cannes, it’s headed for Toronto and a trailer has arrived.
So why all the controversy? The film is based on a true story of the notorious serial killer John Bunting and tells his tale via a teenager who is brought into his sadistic world. It’s directed by Justin Kruzel, who shows a remarkable hand for capturing Bunting’s grimy world and his rage-filled psyche. However, the film’s depiction of his “kills” left many audiences soured. In particular, it’s the first major event of the film that saw a wave of walkouts in the screening we attended and from what we heard, it was the same moment that also troubled audiences in other showings as well. While we had our issues with the film, it’s an undeniably compelling and bristling piece of work that is pretty unforgettable no matter what you think about it.
The film will make its North American premiere as part of the Vanguard selection at TIFF and will be released by IFC Midnight. Watch below.