Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Josh Rosenblatt
    50
    Bra Boys isn't really a documentary at all but a piece of PR propaganda designed to counteract years of bad press. Beautiful, soaring, exhilarating propaganda, no doubt, but propaganda nonetheless.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    50
    Bra Boys uses reenactments to make the case that Jai acted in self-defense, but the tactic comes off cheap and unconvincing. Worse, the director never bothers to talk to anyone outside the tight coterie of insiders. Why should he when his brothers' freedom is at stake?
  3. Reviewed by: Sid Smith
    63
    An odd, one-sided documentary that nevertheless opens a window onto Australian class struggles and a world weirdly familiar and exotic simultaneously.
  4. Reviewed by: Clark Collis
    67
    Partly a straightforward surf movie with impressive wave-catching footage. However, other sections track the legal troubles of Jai Abberton, a Bra Boy who was tried and acquitted of murder. This makes for an often fascinating but awkward mix.
  5. Reviewed by: Bob Baker
    70
    The contrast between grainy videos of street fights and gorgeous scenes of the same boys conquering enormous waves is simultaneously inspiring and sad. Imagine a world in which gang members looked forward to singing in the Sunday choir.
  6. 38
    The film is narrated by Russell Crowe, whose star power is probably the only reason it's being released here.
  7. As a chronicle of an extreme surfing subculture, Bra Boys is semi-fascinating. As a chronicle of rough-and-tumble street life, it's appallingly biased and self-glorifying.
  8. Reviewed by: Megan Lehmann
    70
    It's a piece of unabashed myth-making from first-time writer-director Sunny Abberton, himself a member of the infamous surf tribe from the working-class beachside suburb of Maroubra, in Sydney.
  9. This crude, rowdy movie is also unexpectedly touching in its embrace of surfing as an escape from the stigma of poverty and broken homes. Escape from Russell Crowe’s droning narration, however, is impossible.
  10. 63
    What it lacks in objectivity, it makes up for in vivid intimacy.
  11. Reviewed by: Richard Kuipers
    50
    Opening with a bright history lesson about poor suburb Maroubra and its place in Sydney beach culture, the docu then fails to adequately answer any charges as members and sympathetic locals line up to praise the outfit for rescuing troubled youth.
  12. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    70
    Rudimentarily made as documentaries go--and more than a touch self-glorifying at times--Bra Boys is nevertheless intriguing for its insider's perspective of an outsider culture steeped in tradition, male-bonding rituals, and intense localism.

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