A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a second year film student. The bracketed numbers represent the particular film's rating on Empire Magazine's "500 Greatest Movies Of All Time" list. Requests are more than welcomed! Happy Reading!
Patriotism; it can lead people to do extraordinary things, all for the “love and protection” of a nation; whatever that means. Unfortunately, “the love and protection of a nation” can be interpreted and thus, expressed in several ways, some ways more undesirable than others. 1992’s “Romper Stomper” starring Russell Crowe is a violent, confronting insight into the racist, chaotic, viciously patriotic group of skinhead Neo-Nazis based in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray.
The skinhead group, lead by Hando (Crowe) are a notorious bunch, wanted by the Police who go to of their way to interrogate, humiliate, brutally dehumanise an even kill those belonging to a minority. The intense racial slurs, the malicious intensions of the gang and the film’s soundtrack, barking pro-Nazi, antisemitic and generally racist lyrics directed at all cultures, greatly assists in both alienating the audience and addressing just how savage a culture this is.
As hard as it is to appreciate his character in any way, Russell Crowe is brilliant as Hando. The ruthless leader of the skinhead ‘regime’ is so one-track minded and patriotic, he even refuses to eat pasta, labelling it “Crap” partnered with one of many racial slurs. His character is very similar to that of Edward Norton’s Derek Vinyard from 1998’s “American History X”.
There are a lot of similarities between these two films. Seeing these Australian skinhead Neo-Nazis vandalise, fight and even kill throughout the Melbourne suburbs, it’s hard not to see traits similar to even that of a group of English Chavs, apart from the reverencing of Hitler of course…
“American History X” albeit violent and confronting, is a deeper tale, exploring the effects of influence and past mistakes, whilst “Romper Stomper”, focusing on protagonist Hando, seems to display a different side of Neo-Nazism, demonstrating the anarchy and barbarity of it all with not much else in comparison.
If racism, violence and blatant disgusting behaviour isn’t for you, then stay clear of “Romper Stomper”. There aren’t many selling points for this film, apart from the fact that it stands as one of the best crime-based films to come out of Australia. Having said that, it’s by no means an insight into the stereotypical Australian male, we’re much friendlier.