x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Bra Boys

A one-sided documentary about a gang of surfers in Marouba, Australia.

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Once upon a time, in a poor Sydney beach suburb called Maroubra, there lived a gang of little thugs who grew up to be surfers. So goes the tale of Bra Boys: Blood Is Thicker than Water, a one-sided documentary about this notorious Sydney group. (The bra bit comes from Maroubra. See what they did there?) The stars of the show are Jai, Sunny and Koby Abberton, the trio that started the gang - several members of which have been implicated in various criminal undertakings. That Sunny was co-director, writer and producer of the documentary tells you something of the balance shown in it. So what if the gang members act like the hooligan stars of Jackass, setting fire to themselves, jumping off rocks into a dangerous sea swell and including a dwarf in their capers? At heart, this 90-minute film is desperate to prove that they're just loveable rogues who chase waves. Koby, the chief meathead, sums up their surf philosophy at one point: "One of us could die from it one day but I'm ready." Is that not an inspiring, modern-day message for malleable young minds everywhere? On the upside, it is at least an insight into their scene. And there is a fairly watchable, occasionally moving sequence covering their involvement in the Cronulla riots of 2005 (they helped calm it all down, you see) and some impressive surfing shots. Oh, and you might recognise the beefy voice of the narrator. It's Russell Crowe. One presumes he was ordered to lend his voice while a knife was held to his neck. But then again, we mustn't forget the Bra Boys are just larking about, after all.