Monday, 1 January 2018

Romper Stomper, Season 1 - First Impressions

Romper Stomper – The Series, Season 1 on Stan

Midway impressions

The series makes Romper Stomper, The Movie look like a masterpiece.

I knew all about the controversy of the movie first and then the series, not because I was interested in a fresh round of outrage.  I was interested in where the story went after the movie ended.   It’s hardly surprising that I have high thresholds for violence on screen.  I have lived in Australia all my life.

Blaming a tv show or a movie for that matter for the violence and hate that some will bear down on others is only part of the story.  It can contribute but it’s not in itself enough.  

Rancid masculinity is manifest in a myriad of ways, in places town and country, and in people rich and poor.  If the concern is that it is enhanced by violence and dehumanization pouring out of screen into people’s homes, then why don’t we start with a campaign to eliminate porn?  Or Game of Thrones?  Or online games? Or sport?  Or persecuting the poor, and the list goes on?

How many people are motivated by porn in their mistreatment of women?  How many have gone on to worse crimes because of their unchecked violence towards women?  

A person would have to be very comfortable indeed to bypass all these legitimate concerns and channel their energy into condemning a tv show.

Do they fear being kicked in the guts, the balls, or the head outside a railway station as they go about their lives with freedoms that women don’t have either in public, or in their homes because of who they live with?

Romper Stomper, ‘The Movie’ was Russell Crowe’s movie.  Romper Stomper ‘The Series’ delivers Jacqueline McKenzie as the stand out performance.   What would she have been if not for a toxic industry that put women at risk and cut their earning capacity off at the knees?

I’m bloody grateful that Stan, and Netfflix and Amazon are spreading to Australia.  We need more stories and we need more people telling them.  Local content is not all its cracked up to be. 

Thanks to streaming services and I’ll include SBS which has devoted its platform to bringing international work to Australian screens – thanks to all of them I can watch productions that would never be possible if they had to get around established sensitivities.  There is something for everyone.

Some quick points in closing this mid-point review of The Series:

  • The storyline around the online activists makes online outrage look exactly what it is.  It thinks it punches far above its weight.
  • The extremist groups are populated by young people with a few shady older people pulling the strings.  Regardless of their cause, the same players exist. Both ends of the spectrum give oxygen to the other. 
  • It took a little while to get in to The Series.  It is slower than The Movie.  It doesn’t have the loose-laced beat of Doc Martens hitting the tar but the classic trombone soundtrack is used heartily and still stands up.
  • Endlessly asking the people who made it the same questions is to be expected.   There is no fanning the outrage without them being skewered and hopefully flounder in answering why they thought it was a good idea to revive the story.
  • But the current round of a particular tone of media scrutiny of the actors – How could you? Haven’t you heard how APPALLING this show is? - is puzzling.  

The story so far – good enough for me wonder how it ends.

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