Independent Films, Film Profiles
Romper Stomper is a 1992 Australian film written and directed by Geoffrey Wright starring Russell Crowe, Daniel Pollock, Jacqueline McKenzie and Tony Lee. The film follows the exploits and downfall of a neo-Nazi skinhead group in blue-collar suburban Melbourne.The soundtrack released on Picture This Records includes orchestral music, as well as dark, energetic music similar to the Oi! genre (recorded by studio musicians). The film was nominated for 9 Australian Film Institute Awards, winning Best Achievement in Sound, Best Actor in a Lead Role and Best Original Music Score.Daniel Pollock, who plays Davey in the film, committed suicide before the film's release by jumping in front of a train. He had been struggling with a serious heroin addiction, as well as the breakup of his romantic relationship with co-star Jacqueline McKenzie. Crowe wrote a song about the suicide called "The Night That Davey Hit the Train" which he later performed with his band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts.Romper Stomper is the story of a gang of violent neo-Nazi skinheads from Footscray in Melbourne's western suburbs, led by the intimidating and charismatic Hando (Russell Crowe) and his brooding, introspective friend Davey (Daniel Pollock). The plot centres around the pair's relationship with the rich, sex-obsessed drug addict Gabrielle (Jacqueline McKenzie), who falls in love with Hando after meeting him at a pub the day after her incestuous father has her junkie boyfriend bashed.After joining forces with another group of skinheads visiting from Canberra, Hando's gang victimise two Vietnamese youths when they learn that their favourite pub is about to be turned into an Asian restaurant. A third youth phones for help and before long several car-loads of Vietnamese men armed with pool cues and other makeshift weapons descend on the skinheads, at first they lose but they outnumber the skinheads and force them to retreat. The gang retreats to their rented warehouse but their attackers storm it and set it on fire as the gang escapes over the roof.The skinheads find a new base at another nearby warehouse after intimidating the squatters there into leaving and plans are made for revenge against the Vietnamese. During the course of the evening, Gabrielle suffers an epileptic fit. This repulses Hando so badly he no longer feels any attraction for her. After she recovers, Gabrielle suggests the gang burgle her father's mansion to fund the gang's revenge plans. The gang ventures to the house with her and invade it, beating up her father Martin and ransacking the house, smashing up one of his cars and raiding his wine collection. Gabrielle confronts Martin in the bathroom where the gang has confined him and tells him the burglary is revenge for his years of incestous abuse. Later, in the master bedroom, she reveals to Davey her plan to take Hando away from his violent life. In the meantime, Martin frees himself and takes back his property armed with a handgun. The skinheads narrowly escape, but have no chance to take any of the loot.The next morning, the gang is disgruntled and bitter at another defeat. Hando argues with Gabrielle and dumps her. As she storms off, Davey stops her and gives her the address of his grandmother, where he will be staying. She goes to a nearby phone booth and makes an anonymous call to the police, then goes to stay with Davey. Some time later, the warehouse is raided by the police, resulting in the death of the youngest skinhead when he waves a gun with the firing pin ground down (thus unable to fire) at them. Hando, who is away from the rest of the group, can only watch helplessly before fleeing undiscovered.Arriving at Davey's flat, he finds his friend in bed with Gabrielle. Hando accuses her of selling them out, but Davey provides her with the alibi that they were together the whole time. Appealing to Davey's sensitive nature he himself does not possess, Hando convinces his friend to stick by him. The trio go on the run and during a service station robbery Hando murders the attendant.Driving all night, they finally stop near the Twelve Apostles. Gabrielle misinterprets a conversation between Hando and Davey to mean they are going to leave her behind, sets their getaway car on fire, and openly admits to phoning the police. Hando attacks her with murderous intent, leading Davey to ineffectively try to stop him. In a final act of despair, Davey stabs Hando in the neck with his Hitler Youth knife, killing him. The film ends with Davey cradling Gabrielle on the beach, ironically overlooked by a busload of Japanese tourists.
Year of Production: 1992
Length: 94 min.
- Geoffrey Wright
- Russell Crowe, Daniel Pollock, Jacqueline McKenzie, Tony Lee