Romper Stomper (1993)
Critic Consensus: Relentlessly grim and gripping, Romper Stomper is a disquietingly authentic glimpse into the inner dynamics of a hate group, featuring an electric performance by Russell Crowe.
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Critic Reviews for Romper Stomper
The cheap 'message' of the ending fails to salvage a film that at best is well-meant but misguided, at worst, flashy and garbled.
Exploits the frustration, anger and violence of a despicable subculture while excusing the glorification of its hate aesthetic as necessary "reporting."
It's merely another violent art house picture, slumming modishly in the world of psycho-personalities, and exhibiting only occasional flashes of originality.
One can see why Crowe's star sky-rocketed from this point on: his performance is intense and compelling, revealing a genuine, steely-eyed menace.
Audience Reviews for Romper Stomper
This is a grim and gritty slice-of-life look at the exploits and downfall of a rowdy gang of neo-Nazi skinhead punks in suburban Melbourne. Starring Russell Crowe, this is the film that elevated from the position of just another up and coming actor with a music career on the side to international star...which in turn then eventually lead him to major notice a few years later when Hollywood came calling. As the gang's leader Hando, he's great. You could argue that this role is just a typical attention bait sort of thing, especially when it allows for some real histrionics, but he pulls it off well, and is pretty convincing and chilling. Daniel Pollock appears as Hndo's right hand man Davey, and Jacqueline McKenzie is Gabe- the troubled junkie that becomes the object of their affection. The movie is fairly light on hard plot, but it's not totally aimless. It doesn't really give too much insight into the seeds of racial hatred, or have extensive character development, but as a glimpse into the Australian version of this particular subculture it is very successful. The film can be quite chaotic and unpleasant, but it's fitting, and the film uses mise-en-scene to great effect to really make this stark and dark wasteland come alive. Seriously, the film plays out like a documentary at times, which I think is one of it's strengths. It does actually have character development, but it seems to mostly uses the neo-Nazi angle as just a thing instead of exploring it fully along the lines of something like American History X. For a low-budget non-U.S. indie though, it is a decent piece of work. It's rough, but ultimately saved by good cinematography, good production/costume design, and great performances, especially from Crowe.
You've never seen anything like it. Crazy crazy movie but a good one. Lots of fights and crazy skinheads doing some crazy stuff. The film is as strong and devilish as it comes. If you like American History and Animal Kingdom you'll probably like this one too. If you want to see an excellent historical lesson about hate and how it destroys, see Romper Stomper. Nazi skinheads in Melbourne take out their anger on local Vietnamese, who are seen as threatening racial purity. Finally the Vietnamese have had enough and confront the skinheads in an all-out confrontation, sending the skinheads running. A woman who is prone to epileptic seizures joins the skins' merry band, and helps them on their run from justice, but is her affliction also a sign of impurity?
A horrible yet endearing film about people in pain. The neo-nazis are shown in a bad light which they most certainly should be, but the acting of some of the members make me feel sad for them that they have fallen into this path. Great performances and an amazing final scene.
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