blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Snapshot (1979, Simon Wincer)

Chantal Contouri, Sigrid Thornton, and Hugh Keays-Byrne star in SNAPSHOT, directed by Simon Wincer for Filmways Australasian.

Snapshot is one half middling coming of age melodrama and one half not scary thriller. The picture opens with a burnt-out building and a corpse, then goes back to explain. Director Wincer isn’t playful with the flashback–the opening is only there so the viewer is suspicious throughout the entire film.

The coming of age aspect dominates the first half of the film (once it’s in flashback). Nineteen year-old hairdresser Sigrid Thornton, who’s got an evil mother, a psychothic, vaguely perverted ex-boyfriend and a creep of a little sister, runs off from her “safe” life to become a model. Her friend (and hairdressing client) Chantal Contouri gets her the job. There’s never an explanation as to how Contouri and Thornton met, which isn’t exactly necessary unless one wants to make Thornton into a real character. And Wincer and his screenwriters aren’t interested in doing that work. Thornton’s only sympathetic because she’s got a terrible family and psychos following her.

Just when the character drama part is at least getting mildly interesting (not good, mind, just more compelling than it had been), the thriller part takes over and Snapshot goes even further into the dumps.

Wincer can’t compose scary shots, but his composition and sensibilities are actually pretty good. The music, from Brian May, is awful.

Thornton’s mediocre at best, Contouri’s a little better. Robert Bruning’s atrocious as Contouri’s husband, but Hugh Keays-Byrne’s a lot of fun as a photographer.

Snapshot‘s fairly abysmal, not scary and boring.



Directed by Simon Wincer; written by Chris de Roche and Everett de Roche; director of photography, Vincent Monton; edited by Philip Reid; music by Brian May; production designer, Jon Dowding; produced by Antony I. Ginnane; released by Filmways Australasian.

Starring Sigrid Thornton (Angela), Chantal Contouri (Madeline), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Linsey), Denise Drysdale (Lily), Vincent Gil (Daryl), Jon Sidney (Mr. Pluckett), Jacqui Gordon (Becky), Julia Blake (Mrs. Bailey) and Robert Bruning (Elmer).


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