SYNOPSIS: The Bra Boys are one of the most notorious surf tribes in the world. Hailing from the drug inflicted and poverty ridden housing commissions of Maroubra beach in Sydney's south, this tribe has produced some of the world's most renowned big wave surfers. In an attempt to escape their tragic upbringing, many have found redemption in the ocean and family amongst the tribe brotherhood, whose motto is 'my brother's keeper'. Violence surrounds them, and there is a running battle with local police, wars with rival gangs - and the murder trial of Jai Abberton and subsequent trial of his brother Koby, who was accused of being an accomplice after the fact.
Review by Andrew L. Urban: Technically as rough-and-tumble as its subject matter, Bra Boys is a rare mix of surf movie, buddy movie and social documentary. While it can't be accused of being an impartial film, it is genuine and heartfelt, tracing the story of the three Abberton brothers. Brought up (if that's the word for it) in a broken Maroubra home with differing fathers, and where heroin was the source of destruction, the brothers gravitated to the waves. It proved their escape and eventually the source of their redemption.
The story of disadvantage in contemporary urban society is graphically outlined - albeit a tad superficially - in their own words. The gap-filling narration by Russell Crowe (sometimes in danger of being drowned by the music) is straight forward and we might wish Russell would let his personality shine through. But then perhaps there are enough personalities on show already.
Always honest if incomplete confessions about the Abbertons' lives give the film its impetus and the tension surrounding the trial of Koby become the centrepiece. But the story is at once specific - the brothers and their gang - and universal about tribalism. It is a sobering piece of raw filmmaking.