Review: ‘Razor Eaters’

Inspired by a real-life Melbourne vandal gang that videotaped their exploits -- not a bright move, as it turned out -- strictly fictive "Razor Eaters" offers a mixed bag of thriller, quasi-documentary and vague social commentary. Enterprising first feature for writer-director Shannon Young is likely to reach offshore viewers as a home item.

Inspired by a real-life Melbourne vandal gang that videotaped their exploits — not a bright move, as it turned out — strictly fictive “Razor Eaters” offers a mixed bag of thriller, quasi-documentary and vague social commentary. Enterprising first feature for writer-director Shannon Young has energy, but is never particularly convincing, despite much first-person-camera realism. Recalling the likes of “Romper Stomper” and “Man Bites Dog” in a more imitative than flattering way, pic is likely to reach offshore viewers as a home rather than theatrical item.

Framed by grumbling police Det. Berdan (Paul Moder) watching the Razor Eaters gang’s video misdeeds after the case appears to be closed, pic’s bulk flashes back through the week of hell-raising led by quintet’s skinheaded leader Zack (Richard Cawthorne). They fancy themselves underground crusaders eradicating “scum” from society, and some citizens begin to agree; after all, their slogan is: “A (drug) dealer a day will pay … with his life.” But Zach & Co. don’t make much distinction between that questionable public service and beating up anyone who annoys them. Adequately handled effort aims for shock value, but in the end, seems familiar and rather conventional.

Razor Eaters

Australia

Production

A Hybrid Films presentation of a Levy/Moder/MacLurkin production. Produced by Paul Moder, Nick Levy. Executive producer, Ranald Maclurkin. Directed, written by Shannon Young.

Crew

Camera (color, DV/Super 16mm), Karl Siemon; editor, RJ Maclurkin; music, Jim Schnookal, Maclurkin. Reviewed on videocassette, San Francisco, May 15, 2004. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Paul Moder, Richard Cawthorne, Teague Rook, Fletcher Humphrys, Campbell Usher, Matt Robertson, Julie Eckersley, David Bradshaw, Vince Gil, Angus Sampson.
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