Episode 43: Romper Stomper (1992)

Film chosen by Patrick, introduced by Devlin

Putting together today’s cover image encapsulated a bit of a general problem when it comes to discussing a film like Romper Stomper: does it glamorise or even romanticise the character, and by extension the subject matter, of the film to portray him in a way that, well, makes him look cool? The nature of how we portray abhorrent beliefs and behaviours, and the resultant expectations on an audience to follow a character or set of characters on screen, to identify with them in the moment, but to be able to critically distance from their actions, was at the forefront of our minds when it came to discuss this film. It’s no spoiler to say that none of us was left unshook by this film, and that translates in to the episode.

Since we began the series some 2 years ago, we have covered a pretty broad range of films, largely resultant of our very haphazard and instinctive means of choosing which films to cover. But we’ve never had one so bracing and provocative, and for myself at least, this was one of the more satisfying discussions we’ve yet had. It had been a long time since I’d been confronted with a film of this ilk, dealing with such a sensitive and potentially harmful subject, and it jolted loose some critical faculties that had lay dormant for a good few years.

We hope you find it as interesting to listen to: we’re in slightly uncharted waters here, so more than ever we welcome your feedback and comments as to your memories of the film, your reactions to it, and whether you agree or disagree with our assessments of its continued impact some three decades after its controversial release.

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