Bra Boys Sunny Abberton

Bra Boys Sunny Abberton
Maroubra is a suburb of Sydney, Australia noted for crime and poverty, and its most famous and/or infamous product is the surf gang known as the Bra Boys. Though the film deals with their surf triumphs and legal woes in some depth, it doesn’t quite have the detail needed to make it a totally useful primer. To be sure, there’s a lot of useful information on the berserk laws governing surfers — "wayward” kids can rack up so many fines that they can’t get a car, participate in society or get off the illegal grid. And the story of the Boys — prodigious surfers who can’t outrun a number of legal hassles and accusations — is certainly full of struggle and unfairness. But I couldn’t shake the fact that this is only a surface treatment. The characters of the boys are sort of superficial — I get that they’ve been dealt a lot of bad cards but who are they and what’s the true shape of that impact? Also, the saga of a rape/murder that turned into a tabloid sensation is cagily dealt with, while the potted explanations of the surf culture are just tantalizing enough to make you want more. This isn’t to say there’s nothing going on — the film hints at the double standards that govern treatment of any outlaw subculture — and as the film crescendos in a race riot the Boys try to calm, it’s clear that the subjects are more complex than stereotypes will ever allow. But the film needs to be twice as long and a thousand times as nuanced. And in the end, you wish you’d seen that movie. (Koch)