Bra Boys (2007)

A film about the cultural evolution of the Sydney beach side suburb of Maroubra and the social struggle faced by its youth - the notorious surf gang known as the Bra Boys.
  • 6.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Sunny Abberton, Macario De Souza, Director:
  • Michael Lawrence, Producer:

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7 / 10

Entertaining, Insightful but Biased.

"Bra Boys" is set in the Sydney beach side suburb of Maroubra and it focuses on the culture that Maroubra Beach has created. "Bra Boys" is a tribe ? they don't like to be thought of as a gang ? that have each others back in the financial struggle that some of the families have. The story is centered around the Abberton family, as Russ said, with the film being written and directed by famous surfer brother Sunny Abberton. Their alcoholic mother and her violent boyfriend brought up the brothers, which resulted in the brothers congregating at their Nan's house. The brothers were brought up not only as brothers but as best friends who used the beach as an escapism from their less than prefect life. The film also follows the murder of Anthony Hines and the involvement and trail of Jai and Koby Abberton. But Sunny does not only concentrate on just his own family, but how Maroubra and the "Bra Boys" came to be, as well as introducing other people important to him like his apprentice surfer. Like any surfer needs to Sonny inserts a lot of amazing surfing footage, some quite dangerous and tense, which ultimately is the most riveting part of the film. Though the film is not without its fault, you could imagine a man proud to announce he would never divulge information about his brother, couldn't write, direct and most likely produce a film that wasn't biased. The background behind the murder of Anthony Hines seems to be extremely selective, they of course never initiated any violence and they appear to almost be a very peaceful and passive surf tribe. This seems highly unlikely and I think the brother makes a movie that he would want to see. Often the cinematography, if you could call it that was a bit rough, sometimes only with half faces on camera. But it does set the mood for the rough tribe that is the bra boys. The folky surf music and often interesting interviews provide an entertaining and insightful window into the lives of these bra boys, even if it is a very blurred window. I highly recommend it.

7 / 10

as in...a BOY from MarouBRA.

As raw social documentaries go, this one is surprisingly emotional. I grew up in the Sydney suburb Mascot in the 60s, behind the Sydney surf beach suburb of Maroubra; I went to school in Maroubra, surfed at Maroubra, lived at 433 Maroubra road, became a school teacher back at Maroubra in the 70s and taught some of the real characters seen in this film. So seeing BRA BOYS today is rather enlightening that such a generation has reveled in actual Bad Boy behavior, living out grubby 90s gang fantasies projected from distressing poor and illogical family schisms. Thank God they all have a Jackass sense of humor about themselves. The dangerous foolishness is genuinely hilarious, and as the documentary unravels it becomes more endearing as the viewer really gets to know the emotional side of a solid muscle mass of generational machismo. I knew three guys called Tony Hines, Tony Hinze and Tony Hinds. They all looked like the guy murdered in reel 5. One was gay. Often gang rapists are guys who actually want to have sex with a pal but mask that by abducting a female to cover their real intent. This is hinted at here. A lot of the bonding and reasons for, as depicted or explained here are also very same-sex oriented. That way they can be in a sexually exciting physical situation with another male. In fact the whole film is a celebration of very physical male bonding, young and older, mighty and mad, stupendous and stupid... reckless and devoted: the same conformities that bond the gay male community, something that has been explained in psychiatry about surfers and their male orientation gang behavior into male beauty and wildness and how it appeals. The only female of any profile here is Grandma; the one female to whom they are devoted and genuinely show their deep love. She pivots the film and it is her initial understanding of the basic needs of teen boys to bond which initiates the surfing gangs of Maroubra as seen in this generation. This is not to detract from BRA BOYS (that title might be a bit misleading for non English audiences though) because this documentary is ultimately a very rewarding and emotional display of astonishing family unity, care and unruly behavior. There are groan-worthy disappointments when the teens annoyingly bail up the local bus and terrorize the driver which is a rotten and stupid thing to do... but in a warts and all doco, makes a complete picture: idiots and arseholes last night but are taking a black dwarf surfing today. The three Abberton brothers of whom this is basically about, and their multicultural tribe of BRA BOYS now to be more Jackass than ever given the huge success of this film, will come out of this well, and I hope for the sake of everyone in Maroubra past and future take a more mature role and become tribal elders to a very influenced generation of young males. To bring this epic to the screen is a marvel in itself as this documentary is cobbled together from an enormous amount of out-of-focus footage, news clips, and wobble-cam images. The fact that it is absolutely compelling and ultimately emotional and well worth applause is a testament to the salvage expertise production crew and to the pursuit of this project by the Sydney film distributor, Troy Lum at Hopscotch Films. This house has been the source of some of the most interesting documentaries in recent years to hit local screens. His name is all over the film as it should be. BRA BOYS is a disgrace, but what a fantastic one. The final scenes of the multicultural make up of the gang is genuinely one of the proudest moments I have ever had in a cinema as an Australian and as a man one Maroubra generation ahead of this lot. Is Mark Whalberg is needed in a remake? We like our BRA BOYS exactly as they are. We saw DOGTOWN AND Z BOYS then the dumb LORDS OF DOGTOWN movie too. Beware.

7 / 10

Movie review

BRA BOYS Genre: Documentary Run Time: 85 Minutes Rated: M Country: Australia Director: Sunny Abberton

Bra Boys is a compelling documentary of the infamous surf gang, the Bra Boys. The story is centered around the three Abberton Brothers Jai, Sunny and Koby who joined together with other young kids going through disadvantaged upbringings. The three brothers, as well as their younger brother Dakota (who isn't mentioned in the story much) are looked after by their grandmother Ma, who becomes the boys mother, mentor and gang leader after drugs and abuse, tore apart their relationship with their mother. The Maroubra beach gangs story is a scary incite in to the Australian beach culture in the Sydney suburb which helped to form them. One full of drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, assault and rape. The director of this film, Sunny Abberton tells his side of the story on the notorious 'Bra Boys' and their story of hatred, distrust, and the love and pride they have for each other. For their 'Family' and for their 'Brothers'. The Bra Boys are amazing surfers, riding the largest, heaviest and most dangerous waves on earth and loving every minute of it. The documentary shows us mixed sides of the Bra Boys. Scenes showing their annual fun days dancing on the streets, jumping off cliffs covered in flames, on top of a very unimpressed bus drivers bus, to other scenes of brawls taking place involving guns, knives and various other weapons. The movie is mostly male dominated with the only females really mentioned being their mother Lynn who couldn't look after them due to her Heroin addiction and abusive partner, and the lady who becomes the most influential person in the boys lives, their grandmother Ma, whose house the boys hung out at and were treated with as close to a family life as some of the boys could get. Some of the boys still hang out there after over 15 years. One disappointing aspect of the story was the fact that Jai didn't use his brothers documentary as a way to tell his side of the events that happened on August 5, 2003, when he shot Tony Hines and disposed of his body over the cliff. We also didn't learn what Koby did to be facing 15 years jail. As you can imagine, the story is the Bra Boys, therefore it's their version and side of events so you can be sure that the police would completely disagree on most of the information mentioned in this documentary. However I found it quite engaging and it showed me a different side of the gang than what I expected. For example to be told that the gang was involved in the Cronulla riots as peace keepers using their multicultural backgrounds and friends to call about peace was news to me as I was under the impression they were to blame for it, and also the fact that they payed for Jess, a young talented surfer to go surfing with them. Russel Crowe narrates the story, his voice giving the impression of the tough, strong, masculine Australian men that the Bra Boys seem to be.

'Bra Boys' is a great piece of work, if a bit contradictory in parts, but then life usually is.

Georgie GYC

4 / 10

A patchy insight into a local surf culture

The film 'Bra Boys' begins by describing the settlement of the Maroubra area and goes on to detail the often chaotic living situations of some of the areas younger citizens. From then on the story follows the journey of the Abberton brothers - Sunny, Koby and Jai - as they face court cases, gang violence and some massive waves.

While I can appreciate the rags-to-riches story of the Abberton brothers, for me the story never really seemed to hit home. This may be because of the negative stigma that often goes hand-in-hand with the Bra Boys. However, I believe it is much more simple than that: it is a poorly directed and edited film. Too often was I distracted by the uneven sound, sub-par camera work and jumpy interview sequences.

Yet, the film really shines when it is left to people other than the Abberton brothers to describe the various incidents through their own retelling. This balances the film nicely, rather than have Koby or Jai recount their own court cases and possibly omit certain details. Another element that enhances this film is the surf footage, which really is the tie that binds all these 'Bra Boys' together.

But I found that the negatives far outweighed the positives for this film. It provides an interesting insight into one of Australia's most notoriously tight-knit surf cultures, yet the Abberton influence raises questions of bias regarding the various events which envelop his brothers. For me, this film was interesting but far from great.

7 / 10

My Brothers Murder!

This movie is astonishingly biased and is based on the opinion of gang members rather than true fact.

The movie basically attempts to justify a murder committed by one of the Abberton brothers, who head the group. It also accuses policemen of starting a fight with gang members when both groups were attending functions at the same location.

"Bra Boys" encourages youngsters to leave school and take up a life of dangerous surfing, drug use and crime. The leaders who offer their opinions are ridiculously immature. Its wrong this movie was allowed to be released.

The only good thing about the movie is Russell Crowes narration.