A Social Study

Romper Stomper, Geoffrey Wright’s febrile view-from-within of an Australian neo-Nazi subculture, stars Russell Crowe (unrecognizable from his last role as the amiably feckless dishwasher in Jocelyn Moorhouse’s Proof) as a young skinhead whose gang is locked in a vicious struggle with Melbourne’s Asian community. Though its hyperkinetic brutality makes the film hard to watch at times, Romper Stomper is a compelling— and timely—study of how grinding deprivation can turn the working class not to solidarity but to nationalism, racial hatred, and self-destruction.