Underbelly [Uncut] is the dark and gritty true story of Melbourne’s decade long gangland war. This controversial expose of a series of underworld killings that defined an era and brought several crime families to their knees is probably the most provocative TV shows to come out of Australia.
It is a superbly acted graphic account of criminal life spiralling out of control, an insightful look into the dark history of a city that Kiwis seldom think more of than a great shopping location.
Underbelly is easy to get into, the characters are instantly likable, or loathable and the story clips along at an enjoyable pace. The violence that permeates the story is graphic and realistic, but it never feels overtly gratuitous.
However, at least once every episode, the storyline takes a back seat whilst the envelope pushing director sees fit to slot in a drawn out breast-ploitation music video break. This is gratuitous nudity at its worst – it does nothing but distract from the story, and cuts the action. Sure, these criminals are going to be having sex and violence, drugs, alcohol and sex naturally permeate the story, but this is a tale of gangland warfare, not cheap thrills porno. The sex would have been better to be implied, and given the storyline and action more time, or to cut the episode length with some professional editing.
Food for thought:
If Underbelly does one thing well, it is to show that crime really doesn’t pay, that it destroys everything thing it touches, including innocent bystanders.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: R16 – Contains Violence, Offensive Language, Drug Use & Sex Scenes.
Duration: 575 mins.
Genre: Television, Crime.
Director: Tony Tilse.
Actors: Kevin Harrington, Vince Colosimo, Marcus Graham, Alex Dimitriades, Frankie J. Holden, Martin Sacks, Robert Mammone, Gyton Grantley, Madeleine West, Rodger Corser, Kat Stewart, Les Hill, Caroline Craig.
Release Date: Available now.