Release date:April 11, 2008
"Bra Boys" is a documentary film narrated by Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe about the real-life brotherhood, murder and family loyalties of Australia's warring gangs - the surfing "Bra Boys" of Maroubra, a beach side suburb of Sydney. These are not the laid-back, "Hey, dude," seaside slackers of Southern California legend. Written, directed and produced by Sunny Abberton, himself a childhood resident of Maroubra's public housing projects, "Bra Boys" traces the cultural evolution of the much maligned and tattooed, youthful surfing community, and in particular the Abberton brothers: Sunny, Koby, Jai and Dakota, one charged with murdering a Sydney "standover man" (Australian slang for an extortionist who uses physical violence, or threats, to extract payment on behalf of another), another pursuing a professional surf career but charged as an accessory in his brother's murder trial, another trying to hold the family together, and the youngest brother whose sole inheritance is his siblings' national notoriety. "Bra Boys" is the first full-length film project undertaken by, and officially sanctioned by, Bra Boys themselves. The film shows their success in professional big wave surfing, their international reputation for hard partying and rough justice. They have a running battle with authorities and rely absolutely and solely on one another in order to fit into a society in which they are otherwise displaced and, often, disinterested. The film explores the historical stigma associated with Australia's rebellious surf community, as exemplified by the residents of Maroubra and their social displacement. Using archival shots, blended with new footage and interviews, "Bra Boys" presents a dynamic portrait of the current "surf vision," a story that is at once compassionate, compelling and confrontational: fights for against-the-odds success, predictable failures. Yet, ultimately, the film's narrative illustrates how even amidst the burdens of a stigmatized legacy, a new generation can hope for better.