Those thinking that Australian television begins and ends with Neighbours and Home And Away are going to be mightily surprised by Geoffrey Wright’s Romper Stomper. A follow-up to Wright’s 1992 break-out film, this six part series looks at far-right extremists and their battle with an anti-fascist group in Melbourne.
Romper Stomper is punchy stuff and it’s a very timely piece considering the polarised world in which we live in today. Wright’s 1992 film introduced the world to a young Russell Crowe and while he’s not back for this new series, the themes and a few old co-stars do appear to give Wright’s endeavour continuity with the world which he created a quarter of a century ago. This time around the writer-director has opened up the scope of things and this new show has a wider world and more time in which to tell its tale.
At times Romper Stomper might feel a little convoluted but the actors help sell the plot and give it a verisimilitude which offers up real characters in heavy situations. Lachy Hulme in particular gives a weighty performance as the leader of the far-right group (a shame he’s not in all six episodes) and Toby Wallace makes a good navigator who takes us on our journey into this world of extremism. He doesn’t quite have Russell Crowe’s boiling intensity, but it’s a strong piece of acting nonetheless.
The world of 2018 is divided and Romper Stomper is an interesting look at how the lines are drawn in the sand. Geoffrey Wright has taken a theme which looked very niche when he first played with it more than 25 years ago and held it up to the light to show us that it’s even more relevant today than it was in 1992.