Sadly, not about transvestites 

Not even killer waves can keep 'Bra Boys' from sinking.

'BRA BOYS': Some random dude, Koby Abberton and Sunny Abberton.
  • 'BRA BOYS': Some random dude, Koby Abberton and Sunny Abberton.

It's probably a safe bet that “Bra Boys,” the new Australian documentary about the notorious Sydney surfing gang, owes its existence to Rus-sell Crowe, who narrates the film and executive-produced it. Or, if not its existence, at least the distribution that, four months after its release, landed the film at Market Street. Because there ain't much here.

There is, thankfully, some pretty killer surfing footage, mostly courtesy of world-renowned surfer Koby Abberton, who stars in the film. But more than anything, this is a one-sided PR love-fest for the Bra Boys, a surfer community that, over the last decade, has been involved in riots, fights with police and a murder investigation, but whose members are shown in the film to be fun-loving, “Jackass”-style pranksters, wholly undeserving of their bad rap.

So it goes when a filmmaker is also a subject, particularly where there is controversy. Sunny Abberton, a former surf champ and a founding member of the Bra Boys, co-directs and spends most of the film interviewing his brothers, Koby and Jai, another surf champ. Their narrative centers on the Sydney suburb of Maroubra, traditionally home to some of the area's most impoverished citizens. With Australia's largest prison looming on a hill above the community, a military shooting range on one side and the largest sewage treatment plant in the Southern hemi-sphere on another, Maroubrans had only one escape — Maroubra Beach, home to some of Australia's best surfing. Or at least that's how the Abbertons and the Bra Boys (who drew their name from the last syllable of their community) tell it. From public housing and broken homes, kids fled to the beach, and in the Australian tradition of fierce localism in surf communities, they formed the Bra Boys surf tribe.

 Early in the film, we get a lot on what it means to be a Bra Boy. You could probably guess. How 'bout brotherhood? Koby, who's almost exclusively interviewed shirtless, has a tattoo that necklaces its way around upper chest that says, “Iammybrotherskeeper.” How 'bout special handshakes? The Bra Boys employ what's billed as the most powerful grip possible, a shake that forfeits the hand for the forearm. Or always being there for another Bra Boy, especially if it involves a fight? It's only when they start talking about the importance of “charging waves hard” that this insular boys' club, gang-lite business gets less tedious. Because if there's one thing the Bra Boys do entertainingly, it's fearlessly tackle scary huge waves.

The hook in “Bra Boys,” the tantalizing bit that's likely to be at the heart of the dramatization that Crowe's rumored to also be handling, is that in 2003, Jai murdered a Syndey underworld figure and later Koby was accused of hindering the investigation into that murder. There might be a story here, but the Abbertons aren't really willing to tell it. All we get is a little background on the murder victim, Anthony Hines, “Hinesy,” who's presented as a shitheel who we're supposed to believe deserved to die. Koby, who's spent the rest of the movie blabbing, sheds no light on what he did or didn't do and Jai refuses to talk about the circumstances surrounding the murder. Any semblance of drama comes courtesy of lots of worried looks and comments from the Bra Boys. Koby, afraid he might not ever again have a chance to surf the hugest waves the world has to offer, goes on a worldwide jaunt while awaiting the verdict. I don't have to tell you that it's hard to summon drama with crazy pipeline wave shots.

 Surprise, surprise. They get off. I'm doing you a favor. Skip seeing this one in the theater, and watch it on mute when it comes out on DVD. There are, after all, some tasty waves.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Not much to 'Love'

    In Judd Apatow's new Netflix original series.
    • Feb 25, 2016

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in Movie Reviews

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »


1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation