22 May 2008 | candice_m
Bra boys is a suggestive documentary about the surfing lifestyle in Australia. It shows aspects of the lifestyle outside of the surfing itself, including things like drinking, violence, friendship, family, murder and the involvement of the police and the law. It shows all of these things and the impacts that they have had on their lives.
The documentary was directed by two members of surf gang ‘the Bra Boys’, Sonny Abberton and Macario de Souza. Because of this it shows their views on everything and their opinions of things. While this can appear to be a biased representation of events, they did direct the documentary so of course it is going to sway to being a bit biased. Because the Bra Boys are just assumed to be the bad guys by the media and police they want to defend themselves and their reputations. I think that is a fair representation and why wouldn’t they want to show themselves in a positive way.
The Bra Boys are made up of male surfers that live in or around Maroubra Beach in New South Wales, Australia. They have all come from somewhat troubled backgrounds and didn’t really have great family lives when they were growing up so they have had to turn to each other. They come from a poor suburb and are all from working class families. They are all involved with the surf culture and lifestyle and have formed a tight brotherhood. They all have a lot of similarities so this is probably why they have bonded in the way that they have.
The main people appearing in the documentary are the Abberton brothers. The Abberton brothers are Sunny, Jai, Koby and Dakota. They all share the same mother but only two of them have the same dad. Their mother was a heroin addict so she wasn’t really there to support them and so they just took care of each other throughout the years. The Abberton brothers and their friends from the area used to hang out at their Grandma, Mavis’, house. Her house was close to the beach so it was somewhere for them to hang out and from here they formed the Bra Boys.
The documentary is narrated by Russell Crowe so from the start it gives it a kind of Australian feel. A lot of this documentary is all about Australian culture and a lot of Australians could relate to it. With things like them being against the police, larrikin characters, strong manly representation of men this can be associated as part of Australian culture.
And so the documentary shows these troubled kids trying to do good for themselves and them just having fun and surfing all day. Everything is great for them until the Bra Boys have a run in with the police. It is one of the Bra Boy’s, Mark Mathews, birthday and they are celebrating with 200 of his friends at the Coogee RSL and the local police are having a Christmas party one floor above them. A fight breaks out between the two parties and 8 Bra Boys are arrested while no police officers are charged. From this event the police and the Bra Boys have clashed with the police thinking that the Bra Boys are a bunch of criminals. This part of the documentary they show the two sides of the story so it’s not really fair to say the whole film in biased.
One of the main parts of the movie is when Jai Abberton is charged with murdering Anthony Hines. Anthony Hines had been to jail before and always in trouble with the police and was a friend of Jai’s. Jai supposedly shot Anthony Hines in self-defence and dumped his body of the side of a cliff into the water. Jai’s brother Koby was also charged for lying to the police and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Firstly Koby then later Jai were released with all charges dropped. Jai spent 10 months in prison though before the trial happened.
Perhaps one of the positive things that the Bra Boys do in the film in when they apologise to the Lebanese community when the riots where happening in Cronulla, New South Wales. They are showing that they had no part in the riots and are very accepting of other cultures. I think that while this could be genuine and what they are really like it could have also just been to make themselves look better in front of the public.
I don’t think that this documentary was at all a way to promote themselves because they started filming the documentary before a lot of these events happened. I think that maybe by making this documentary there names would become more well known but I don’t think it was the sole reason for making it. Overall I enjoyed the documentary as it was enjoyable for a documentary which I don’t usually find too interesting.