Blu-ray Review: Snapshot

The documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! covered the history of the non-Arthouse productions from Australia during the ’70s and early ’80s. What was frustrating was after getting a taste, it turned out that so many of the intriguing titles weren’t available on home video. Vinegar Syndrome has remedied this for Snapshop, a fashionable thriller directed by Simon Wincer. This was the first theatrical release as Wincer would go on to direct Phar Lap, Quigley Down Under, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Free Willy and Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles.

Angela (Man From Snowy River‘s Sigrid Thornton) wants to get out of her boring life in Melbourne, but she’s not going to save up enough to travel with her job at the beauty salon. She gets a break when her client offers her a chance to model for the city’s hottest commercial photographer. Angela doesn’t think she’s model material, but it pays better than hairdressing. Her first gig at the beach has her lose her top while walking in the ocean. She goes along with it at the time, but it freaks her out when the topless pose becomes the advertisement and the marketing company wants to take the image wider. She quickly moves out of her house into the communal pad owned by the photographer and explains to the guy she hung out with that they aren’t dating. He doesn’t take it very well and keeps pestering her in his Mr. Whippy ice cream truck. Angela gets caught up in the local party and showbiz scene with promises of a screen test by the local film company and more modeling gigs. Among the confusion, she finds herself dealing with a lot of guys who want to hook up with a famous models. Things get nasty when she gets an unwelcomed admirer willing to sneak into the photographer’s house to slice up her dress and later leave a pig’s head in her bed. Is her next photo shoot going to be crime scene?

Snapshot is as good as advertised. There’s a great believability factor to the film in that Angela doesn’t become an international supermodel like Cindy Crawford. She’s landed one gig and is waiting for more work. There’s no whirlwind of Paris and Milan fashion weekend. This is a local girl who doesn’t escape her hometown, but still has to deal with a whirlwind of attention. Everybody she encounters wants to use her. The film properly builds mystery and tension by starting with the firefighters discovering a charred body in a room covered with Angela’s topless ad. Are we watching the worst mistake she ever made? The film looks great as cinematographer Vincent Morton (Road Games) brings out a smoky nightlife world that suck in Angela. The score from Brian May (Mad Max) heightens the tension as she gets tempted deeper into this new life. The ending lets all the suspects play out instead of merely one reveal. Snapshot finally gets a proper frame on Blu-ray.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks fantastic even with all the smoke on the screen. The darks handle well. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 mono. The levels are great for hearing the camera snapping or the firemen breathing in their oxygen masks. The movie is subtitled.

DVD with all features of the Blu-ray.

Commentary Track features Simon Wincer (director), Tony Ginnane (producer), Sigrid Thornton (lead actress), Vincent Monton (cinematographer) unites them to tell tales from the set. Turns out the smoked out room at the opening is Tony’s office. Tony tells about how the US distributor used different titles to sell the film around the country including The Day After Halloween. The movie has zero references to the holiday.

Alternate feature length Australian cut (100 minutes) is taken from a video source so it’s resolution is a drop off. There’s quite a few scenes that make up the 7 minute difference. The negative only exists for the international cut.

Producing SNAPSHOT (27:56) interviews Tony Ginnane. The film came out of a successful collaboration on Patrick.

“Not Quite Hollywood – Interviews” (36:30) are extended interviews originally taped for the astounding documentary about Australian cinema.

Multiple TV spots (0:58) sets up a young model being terrorized.

Behind-the-scenes still gallery (4:04) are numerous photos and promotional items.

Vinegar Syndrome presents Snapshot. Directed by: Simon Wincer. Screenplay by: Everett De Roche & Chris de Roche . Starring: Sigrid Thornton, Chantal Contouri, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Robert Bruning, Julia Blake. Running Time: 93 minutes. Rated: R. Released: August 29, 2017.

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