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?
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I watched this film a couple of months back, mainly through curiosity - I'dknown the title for years but didn't have a clue what it was about.As a story of racism and violence it is, quite simply, terrifying. I'm notsqueamish but I found it difficult to keep my eyes on the screen all thetime. OK, I even walked out of the room at one point and hid in thebathroom!What kept me watching was the strength of the performances. Russell Croweis mesmeric as Hando and somehow managed to draw my sympathy despite thebrutality of his character.It's a bleak, harsh film, sometimes hard and unpleasant to watch. It's morefrightening than any stalker/slasher/bumps in the night/voices in the woodsfilm because it feels so real.If you're feeling tough and cheerful - you'll need to be both at thebeginning because you won't be either at the end - then watch it. And Ibetit stays with you for weeks.
To be honest, I'm sorry I first saw this movie when I was 14 as anumber of the references went over my head that I picked up on duringlater viewings. I found with this movie, as with all movies, subsequentviewings had less impact as I had seen all the shocking violence andwhatnot that encompasses the movie. For instance, first time around I missed noting things like the ironyof Davey stabbing Hando with the very knife Hando actually paid forearly on in the movie. And then there's all the intentional cheesyreferences to Kubrick's Clockwork Orange. There are plenty more, butyou'll have to pick them out yourself.I'm not looking for documentaries when I watch a movie, however as ateenager growing up in the same city at the same time this movie wasmade, I find all the shots hauntingly familiar. I recognize the time,the feel, place and era of every city scene. I can even tell thesuburbs that certain scenes are shot. I personally feel that capturingan emotion on film rather than just a picture should be worthy ofrespect in anyone's books. Even the train stations made me feel 'athome' for Melbourne train stations were literally as dark, dank andgrotty as depicted in the opening scenes.My only real complaint is the bit character acting in the movie. It isabsolutely abysmal. I feel for Crowe, McKenzie and Pollock. I may notbe an actor, but from my own job I know what its like to work alongsidecompletely useless twits. Its hard. Very hard. However, to theircredit, in the face of adversary, all three acquit themselves in a waythat only a true professional can, which probably explains why theyhave gone on (Pollock excluded for obvious reasons) to better thingswhile the supporting actors are still too embarrassed to even show upas extras on homemade cable TV sitcoms.I wont try and give you rubbish about lighting or cinematography or anyother pious aspect that has no business at the consumer end of a movie(as so many try hard hacks on here seem to want to). I'll give you myjudgment based on the fact that this is supposed to be entertainment,pure and simple. As long as its not done noticeably badly then they'vedone a good job.If you want to learn something, go to school. If you want to judgesomething or someone, go to church. If you want to be entertained, thenthis is for you.Worth a watch.
Romper Stomper is a pretty bleak portrayal of the life of a group ofskinheads in Melbourne. I know that a lot of people have said that thisglamorises the gang's way of life, but that is nonsense. I did enjoythe unbiased stance of this movie and thought that the lack ofskinhead-bashing lent potency to the events of the last third thatwould perhaps not have been there were this simply an anti-skinheadfilm. There are obvious parallels to A Clockwork Orange although Idon't know how well this stands up in comparison. I'm not sure what thereplay value will be for me, either. It was enjoyable enough but Ican't see myself watching it again any time soon.
Before he became the big star, the New Zealand born Australian raisedactor had varied parts in just a few films, and later he would get thebigger role in The Quick and the Dead, then the lead in L.A.Confidential, and of course the Oscar for Leading Actor in Gladiator,so it was interesting for me to see one of his earliest leading roles,from director Geoffrey Wright (Cherry Falls). Basically a gang ofviolent neo-Nazi skinheads from Footscray, Victoria, Australia, led byHando (Russell Crowe), with his friend Davey (Daniel Pollock) as secondin command, are not afraid to express their racism by attacking anyoneof the Asian community. Gabrielle 'Gabe' (Jacqueline McKenzie) joinsthem, not after being beaten up by her drug-taking boyfriend, who washired to do the beating by her sexually abusive and rich father Martin(Alex Scott), and she and Hando form a close blond. The gang are joinedsoon by friends visiting from Canberra, and they find out their localpub has been sold to a Vietnamese Australian businessman, so they goand attack the owner's sons, and in the situation one of the Vietnameseyouth phones for help from fellow community members. They outnumber theskinheads and surround their rented warehouse, but they manage toescape the chaos as the community break in and ransack and set fire tothe place, so the skinheads retreat to another warehouse that hassquatters. Hando convinces his fellow gang members that they should getrevenge against the Vietnamese, starting with the purchase of a gun,and Gabe's suggestion is to burgle her father's mansion, as payback forthe years of abuse, she also tells Davey she plans to get away withHando from the violent lifestyle. Davey has doubts about his currentlifestyle and leave the gang, and the same time Gabe dumps Hando, thetwo of them spend the night together, and she informs the police wherethe gang is, and the gang are hoarded by police, with the youngestskinhead shot dead, and the rest arrested. Hando was not there at thetime though, and even though he does catch Gabe and Davey in bedtogether, he wants to convince his friend to stick by him, and he does,so they all go on the run, robbing a service station, and the leaderstrangling the Asian store owner to death. They stop on a beach, andthe two male friends have a conversation where there is an argumentabout the girl, she meanwhile sets fire to the car and admits to themthat she called the police. This enrages Hando and he chases her,trying to kill by drowning her in the sea, but Davey stabs him in theback of the neck with a knife, he dies, and Gabe and Davey hugtogether, while a bus load of Japanese tourists watch from above. Alsostarring Leigh Russell as Sonny Jim, Dan Wyllie as Cackles, JamesMcKenna as Bubs, Eric Mueck as Champ and Frank Magree as Brett. Crowegives a great performance as the leader of the gang, he is suitably themost unhinged of the characters, and the support of Pollock and Scottis terrific as well, the raiding of the warehouse is the most engagingscene, but many moments of disturbing exploits of skinhead violence andabuse get you gripped, there are good reasons to put this in the bookof 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, a good drama. Worthwatching!
Originally released in 1992, Romper Stomper underwent a video and soundupdate for DVD. The revised edition is a real gem! Crowe delivers anincredible performance as Hando, the leader of an Australian skinhead grouptrying to give significance to their meaningless lives. We follow Hando'sfanatic pursuit of violence and hatred as he slowly alienates himself fromhis own group and friends. The camera work is also some of the best I'veseen, especially during the vicious fight scenes. Romper Stompersimulatenously captures the bloodlust of violence and viscerally draws inthe audience.Romper Stomper stands as one of the memorable films in the tradition ofClockwork Orange. A definite must-see for adventurous moviefans.
I just watched Romper Stomper two days ago. And I was impressed by it. Ireally loved the character attributes; I dislike movies which do not haveenough character development. I thought that Russell Crowe, the lateDanielPollock, and Jacqueline McKenzie did wonderful in their roles. My praisesalso go out to Ron Hagen, the cinematographer, and to Geoffrey Wright, thedirector and writer. All combined, they accomplished something not manymovies can - to be startling anddisturbing while reaching inside to display the finer emotions oflife.I especially enjoyed Pollock's character, Davey, and his silent attractionfor Gabe. It was not discussed or debated or brought into the openthroughdialogue, but through the looks he gave her, how he would be such agentleman towards her even when Hando treated her like a dog. Afterwatching countless movies where people moan and whine about theirrelationships that they can't have, it was satisfying to watch a charactersilently endure his pains.Although Romper Stomper harshly portrays the brutality which these whitesupremacists are over-flowing with, it also shows that they are peoplenonethe less. And as much as anti-racists feel despise towards them, we arenodifferent then they are. *Because* we despise them; we feel the samehatredthey do. There is no excuse for that. And the anger which built up intheVietnamese being beaten by the skinheads caused a reaction in them, thesameas it did in the neo-Nazis. So where is the difference?The objective view of the movie is what makes it strong, although that wasthe source of controversy when the movie was first released in 1992.However, I appreciated the middle-ground" assessment of the situation. Inthe first scene, as the skinheads pounce on the two Vietnamese teens inthetunnel, you feel hatred for them. But as the story progresses, you begintoactually grow fond of some of the characters. You root for them in thebattles. And then you think to yourself, "what on earth is going on - I'mcheering for the skinheads?"This disturbing reaction to the movie is probably what caused so manypeopleto slam it in their reviews. They did not want to admit what this moviehaddone to them; that is, made them realize that skinheads are just humanbeings too.
***This review contains spoilers*** I found Romper Stomper to be adramatic and intense look into the lives of skinheads in Australia, andthis was a subject I knew very little about. It fell short of being agreat movie, however. It is riveting and violent, and has a very darkatmosphere throughout most of the movie, which is not necessarily a badthing to me. Unpleasant topics need to be displayed unpleasantly.Russel Crowe did a great job as Hando, and was villainous andintimidating throughout the film.The reason that I don't find "Romper Stomper" to be on par with similarfilms, such as "American History X" or even as a "great" movie is thatafter many scenes of rather random violence and looting, by the end ofthe movie you don't care about any of the "protagonists" and the lastfourth of the film is really meaningless to me. The girl, Gabe, is adouble-crossing, psychopathic witch, and the fact that she was molestedby her father does little to make me feel any sympathy for her. Davey,all of a sudden, decides he loves her (Why? Hard to say... there islittle dialog between them until he decides he wants to sleep withher... how sweet?) and goes off to fight Crowe's character to the deathafter she torches their car and admits she snitched on them.I suppose we are supposed to be happy or find it to be a sweet lovestory at the end of the movie, but I personally didn't care if allthree of them died. Weak character development, and the idea that weshould feel like Davey and Gabe are suddenly good or should be caredabout makes this a disappointing movie. Had they stuck with theoriginal plot line about racial tension, violence, etc. with or withoutthe "American History X"-style redemption, it would have been a muchmore powerful and better film. There's a reason there aren't many"psychopathic Nazi romances" out on the market I think.
The movie was violent, brutal, and eye opening to the fact that peoplehaveto deal with this kind of racism everyday all over the world not just in acountry far away but in your own backyard. You could see the hatred inHando's eyes as he beat the asians into submission. The joy he feltexpressing his rage. His only purpose in life was to hate. Russell Crowemademe believe. I wish there was a bit more depth to Crowe's character but ithink the focus of the movie was the plight of the skinheads. Great Flick!If you want to be entertained with great acting and also be educated on apart of human nature then you should take a look at RomperStomper.
Of course a very controversial movie to be seen and commented on by aGerman. Both sides, Australian Skinheads and Vietnamese fellow citizens(or maybe not citizens, but who cares?), equally violent?Not exactly the politically correct way of showing the world - anddefinitely not in Germany. That is, by the way, the main reason whythis movie is on the "dangerous to juveniles" index (by the "BPJS",means it is not forbidden but handled like hardcore porn) in Germany.At least the reason for that cannot be the mere violence, as there ismuch worse out there that is not quite as banned.I personally think it definitely is a movie dangerous for people incertain mind sets, that do only want to see one side of the story - thecool skins that have all the right to fight back. But anyone seeing itwith open eyes will find it still brutal but very interesting. Yes,there is violence on both sides. And I assume that is true in Australiajust as it is true anywhere else. Yes, there are scenes that a lot ofskins on the racist and violent side might like a little too much. But,no, there is not much reason or actually explained motivation, forHando's and his gangs behavior. And, no, there is definitely no happyend for anyone. Their own violence, toughness and inability to dealwith any positive emotion breaks up the gang and kills some of theindividuals in the end.A movie, if you ask me, that fully opposes physical violence whileshowing it openly.A movie, that should lead anyone to the very general summary: Cool andstrong and violent really only seems cool at the VERY first sight.
I still can't understand why a film that depicts reality such as thiswould be banned anywhere. Let's face it, violence, hate and racism arefacts of life, and if anything may change a mind or two its seeingsomething like this, a film that shows one the fruition of suchactions.Russell Crowe's performance was splendid as usual. He had me convincedthat he was Hando. To this day I believe that Hando did exist mostlydue to the convincing nature of Crowe's performance. He has proved timeand time again that he can take on most any persona and make us believehe is that being.Although Hando was a disturbing character, his intelligence and senseof loyalty to his comrades was very evident. He was a born leader. It'sjust too bad his attributes were not used toward a more moralexistence. He would have gone far, however I do believe that in thisday and age a subject with such charisma would be singled out and shot,just like JFK or Martin Luther King.
OK, a friend of a friend told me I had to see this movie and keptsaying how really amazing it was. I had never even heard of it beforeand wasn't too excited about renting it but unfortunately curiosity gotthe better of me and so I did end up renting it. From the verybeginning this movie was horrible. The music that was playing wasnauseating, the scenes of violence were completely random and not atall suspenseful or even interesting to watch, just some skin headsgetting chased around the neighborhood by hordes of immigrants, which Ithought was so stupid it actually made me laugh. I find it hard tobelieve Russell Crowe went on to do anything after appearing in thistrash. I think they spent about $20 on the production budget for thisfilm. All in all it was a very bad movie and I cannot recommend thatanyone waste their time watching this. Also, just because you likedAmerican History X doesn't mean you'll like this movie. I loved AHX andyet while Romper Stomper is the same genre, it's a very different kindof movie. I give this movie 2/10, the only reason it's not a 1 isbecause it was slightly entertaining seeing Russell Crowe before hewent big time in one of the cheapest movies I've ever had thedispleasure of watching.
Director Geoffrey Wright who also created another classic flick, MetalSkin 1994 has created another gem in Romper Stomper.Starring Russell Crowe who has also been in other classic flicks,Heaven's Burning 1997, Gladiator 2000, L.A. Confidential 1997,Virtuosity 1995, No Way Back 1995 and The Quick and the Dead 1995.Also starring Jacqueline McKenzie who has also been in another classicflick, Deep Blue Sea 1999.Also starring Daniel Pollock.Also starring the talented John Brumpton who has also been in otherclassic flicks, Life 1996, Dance Me to My Song 1998, Redball 1999,Getting Square 2003, The Loved Ones 2009, Cedar Boys 2009, Red Hill2010, Storm Warning 2007 and another classic Aussie racial issuesflick, The Combination 2009.I enjoyed the party, violence and sex scenes.If you enjoyed this as much as I did then check out other classicracial issues flicks, Do the Right Thing 1989, Goodbye Uncle Tom 1971,Jungle Fever 1991, Malcolm X 1992, Fight for Your Life 1977, Glory1989, This is England 2006, Made in Britain 1982 and American History X1998.
I'm truly amazed that so many people have such good things to say aboutthisfilm.Firstly, the violence was as gratuitous as can be imagined. I didn't finditparticularly disturbing, as I've seen that kind of thing many timesbefore,but the sheer repetition and scale of the violence resulted in a dilutionofthe effect. Violence became the raison d'Ãªtre of the whole film, leavingnothing of substance to fill the pauses between punch-ups.Secondly, racism. I'm not squeamish or overtly PC, but I found this filmwent far further than "not condemning" the behaviour of the skins.Considerthis: the nazis are portrayed as a group of loyal friends, with highidealsand a mission (reading some user comments, I'm tempted to believe theywereconvinced of this mission themselves by the end of the film), while theAsians are a faceless, characterless horde, bursting into many scenes likeaswarm of flies. Hando gets to make his grisly case to his mesmerisedgirlfriend, spewing out his racist bile, while the Asians are reduced tobeing beaten up or - eventually - fighting back. I'm not going to make theirresponsible claim that the filmmakers were indeed racist, but theydeliberately steered this film dangerously close to thewind.Thirdly, the plot is extremely weak. Do we really care what happens totheseparticularly vile people by the end of the film? Is it of the slightesthuman interest who gets the rather silly, impressionable and immaturegirl?Far from being intelligent, provocative or revealing, this film is littlemore than a sick and soulless cartoon.
A brutally realistic work that depicts the true nature of skinheadsyears before American History X. And Romper Stomper has much more of animpact on the viewer because of it's extreme realism. American HistoryX takes some of most brutal scenes of all time and just makes them looklike silly Lifetime specials by slowing it all down and makingeverything melodramatic. Romper Stomper does the opposite, it filmseverything as it happens, making it one of the most disturbinglyrealistic works I've ever seen. Also, unlike other films aboutskinheads, Romper Stomper takes a completely unbiased look at theirculture. Instead of showing everyone has rude, inconsiderate miscreantsand then centering the film on the one person who is above at all, thisfilm displays their culture for what it really is. A realistic look atthe skinheads, instead of an over-dramatic look at the struggle oneperson makes to get out. Russell Crowe is disturbingly natural, fullyabsorbed and overwhelmingly commanding in his greatest performance ofall time. Never have I seen Crowe become a character so well. Hecompletely wraps his mind around this man and scares the hell out of meduring his most violent scenes. The soundtrack also plays a vital partto the film. It's punk rock, hard-hitting sound really makes the viewerfeel like they are with these skinheads and ready, to put it simply, tokick some ass. This all being said, the editing can get pretty sloppyand sketchy at times and the sound (primarily the sounds of the hits inthe opening scene) are pretty poor at times. Gabe's story also felt abit unnecessary, but I suppose it did have key plot points to move thestory along. The whole thing with her dad though, really could havebeen left out. The ending is also pretty terrible. For such a natural,realistic film I wouldn't expect such an annoyingly unrealistic ending.
Boisterous rough and ready assault on your senses- perfectlytimedand utterly sharp and not boring. Random violence explodes aspost-Nazi punks/skinheads glorifying Hitler's racial superiorityfantasiesrattle the bones of society's apathetic navel- not withsomepolitical and social conscience but with some "I'm bored/I'mamisfit/Hmm. Nazism? Sounds interesting" truism.What they lack in vision (with the exception of Davey and Hando,whoare bestfriends and the core leaders of the group) and reasoningtheymake up for in compulsive, frantic rioting and clumsily lashingoutat the "gooks"- the Vietnamese people who they believeare "contaminating" the purity of their all-white community.For a veritable walking time bomb, Rusell Crowe as Hando thegangleader is super charming and hot. He exudes raw, magnetic power-he'sexactly the kind of guy that could skin a cat alive without thepussyknowing it. Add some dangerous visions in his mind- and you haveafrightening body count of "dead gooks".I guarantee that you will never find a dull moment in this movie.Theplot just tightens; and you just pity these poor, insecure,haplessbut blustering, armed kids. Helen, sexually harassed by herfatherand another misfit, is bewildered and tender- and she pulls thestorytogether, right when there's no more sympathy left for Hando.Thewide shots of the frenzied fighting capture the pulsingdesperationof the moment/s; and the music video to "skinheads skinheads" isaclassic- one that Quentin Tarantino probably envies.The twisted ending is ferocious and perfect. It's actually alovestory set amidst a society fuelled with hate and boredom andangst;or perhaps it's just a story about three lost souls navigatingtheirsqualid community- caught up, vindictive against societalills(broken families, having "no future", wasted lives loomingahead),eager to lay the blame on something, ready to embrace anybrotherhoodor credo that will give authenticity to their defiant rage.
I watch a lot of Nazi and WWII related movies and this best shows the effects that Hitler has had on people over the years. This movie was hardcore. Seriously, I don't think they could've done a better job at presenting this hidden part of society to us and they couldn't have found a better actor, either. Russell Crowe is the best and so is this movie. I agree with another review that said this movie makes American History X look like a fable.
If you notice that Romper Stomper came out in 1992 and American History Xcame out in 1998, you can see who copied who. Then there was Priscilla,Queen of the Desert out in 1994 and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything!Julie Newmar that came out in 1995. The list of ground-breaking Aussiemovies copied by Hollywood in search of box office dollars goes on andon.With that said, as a person who lived for many years in Melbourne, RomperStomper is a chilling picture of some of the nastier parts of thebeautifulcity. It is a very well acted movie with Russell Crowe obviously standingout and giving the world a preview of his skills.If you like this, see "Chopper". Another movie set in Melbourne starringEric Bana, another Aussie actor on the rise.
When I read a review saying something like "If you like American HistoryX,then you should see Romper Stomper for a truly terrifying look atneo-Nazism," I felt compelled to find this film. Sadly, I couldn't find itlocally until Russell Crowe became a megastar, but it was well worth thewait.Romper Stomper is a truly ugly, brutish film that examines the mentalityandinherent contradictions of white supremacy. The film is dark and grainywithmuted colors, perfect to set the tone. Russell Crowe turns in a very fineperformance as Hando, the leader of the skinhead group. I was surprised athow Crowe was able to wrestle a three-dimensional character out of whatcould have been a flat charicature. The supporting cast is almost as good,and they play their parts effectively.The movie overtly and subtly points out the contradictions of whitesupremacy. One example is the scene where the skinheads pick a fight at alocal Vietnamese restaurant in order to drive the owners out. TheVietnamesein the area have had enough of skinhead attacks, and come to theirfriends'defense en masse. The kicker is the soundtrack, playing a skinhead songabout bravery and fighting to the end while the skinheads scatter likeroaches. The movie does it's best to show the skinhead lifestyle andmentality as unglamorous and simpleminded, despite the skinheads'statementsto the contrary.The only thing going against this film was it's lack of originality. Thisisonly a tiny knock, for the film does what it does very well. And from thisfilm, it's very obvious that Russell Crowe was destined for stardom fromthebeginning. Well worth seeing.My rating: 8 out of a possible 10.
When one looks at the way Australia often promotes itself to the restof the word, rose-coloured is a phrase that springs to mind. In mymind, the word propaganda would not be far off the mark. Upon itsrelease in 1992, Romper Stomper was vilified by a lot of people asbeing a racist film, even pro-Nazism. The reason for this wasn'tbecause these complaints had any merit. It was because the film shows aside of Australia that the likes of Paul Hogan or Steve Irwin wouldrather you didn't know about.In order to fully understand the film's relevance, one has to look atAustralia as a society for a second. It's a welfare state in whichanyone with permanent residence can collect handout after handout fromthe government, and in spite of claims to the contrary, said welfaresystem provides more of a hammock than a safety net. Small wonder thenthat a lot of the native population are out of work and don't reallywant to work.It is this situation that Romper Stomper is primarily based in. Themain characters are all part of a unit of skinheads who consider a lifespent collecting welfare payments and beating up immigrants who arewilling to work for the money they sit back and take to be virtuous.This is most reflected in the portions of the music that are sourcedfrom real Oi bands, presented here like grisly items in a museum ratherthan sugar-coated or pushed to the back where they have to be hunted inorder to be seen.The claim that this film is racist is turned on its head by the simplefact that it presents a warts-and-all look at the lifestyle of theskinheads. It is made clear that every futile effort they make todestroy their perceived enemy does more to destroy them and their wayof life. In another film that explores this theme from a differentangle, one character states that the proper question to ask is whetheranything one has done has made their life better. The answer for themain characters here is a resounding no.What's even bolder is that the other side of the argument, the migrantswho eventually extract a brutal revenge upon the skinheads, are notportrayed in an overly sympathetic light, either. Sure, you can feeltheir pain and anger, but when they're virtually rioting in the streetsand breaking furniture over their enemies' heads, one can't help butnoticed what they have reduced themselves to. Both sides fight likeanimals, and it is generally as animals that they are remembered. It'snot that the director wanted to portray his characters as animals somuch as he seems to have wanted to ask if violence is really the answerto a social issue.In the end, my advice is to take a look, and then more looks, until youget to understand what was being conveyed in the film. This is the bestposition to judge it from. With a long list of compelling performancesand brilliant photography, this doesn't feel so much like a featurefilm as it feels like a documentary. And when you're dealing withsubject matter like this, that generally means success.
I loved "American History X" and think it's a very powerful film, but ifyou're looking for a movie of that kind, you'll probably be disappointed. This is not a propaganda film that bashes the life of a skinhead. Being awhite supremacist is far from a good thing, and the film doesn't in any waytry to condone their lifestyles. It just serves as a wake-up call thatpeople like these are out there, and rather than treating them asone-dimensional caricatures, the director treats them as regular characters. I mean, drama involves truth. If it's an exaggeration of truth, it's calledmelodrama. The writer/director obviously did much research on the lives onthese Australian skinheads, and shows in the film that they have feelings,emotions and love lives like the rest of the people in the world. It mayseem sadistic to many having the skinheads as the protagonists in the story,but how many films have we seen where the protagonists are hitmen ("PulpFiction")? Or psychopaths ("American Psycho")? Or gangsters ("Goodfellas)? Are we condoning their lifestyles as well? Does the increased popularityof "The Sopranos" mean that we all secretly want to be part of the Mafia? *POSSIBLE SPOILER AHEAD*True, the intentions of these white supremacist groups are anything butpure, but neither are the intentions of Jules and Vincent in "PF." Justbecause they're the protagonists, doesn't mean we have to feel perfectsympathy for them. As the director expressed in his commentary, the factthat all the characters died--with the exception of Daniel Pollack'scharacter--is punishment enough for their evil deeds. There are certainlysome disturbing scenes, involving the mass beatings of the new flock ofVietnamese in the community (which disturbed me, being half Asian myself;movies like this mainly focus on the group's hatred for blacks and Jews),but they're not done in a way in which the characters are virtuallyscreaming out, "I am evil and ruthless. This is your cue to frown and utter'Oh, my God." This is a realistic depiction, not a cinematic depiction. I only wish Russell Crowe's character could've been developed more. Iwanted to know more about why he's so ruthless. Of course, we don't exactlyneed a heavy-handed flashback sequence, showing how his father brought himup to hate, but I would've appreciated some sort of background. Pollack'scharacter I was able to understand a lot more. He's a bit shy and aimless,and I've seen people like him in everyday life. He doesn't know where to gowith his life, has no friends to make him feel welcome, so he joins thefirst group of people who treat him respect, as if he's a member of thefamily. This is why many young people join gangs. They don't get muchaffection at home or by most of their peers, so they feel this is the onlyway to go. Pollack's subtle performance made the character all the more effective. It's sad that he died after post production of the film, because he seemedto have great potential. The director said something interesting in thecommentary. He said that Pollack committed suicide directly afterpost-production was wrapped. It's as if he wanted to finish this moviebefore leaving this world. Well, God bless his soul. Russell Crowe does afine job as well, though I wish I could've seen the film BEFORE he evolvedinto a massive superstar. It just makes it more difficult to forget that'sRussell on screen. But he still did a good job. The woman who plays hisgirlfriend, who eventually falls into the arms of Pollack, also does a verygood job. I can see why a film like this would be controversial, but people simplyhave to look at it more deeply and not through the beer goggles of apropagandist. As the film concentrates more on the romantic subplot, itgets watered down a bit, but I still regard this as a good film. Not agreat one, but a good one. My score: 7 (out of 10)