Monday, 15 September 2008


Last night I watched Underbelly on TV. Underbelly is a 13-part TV series that depicts the Melbourne Gangland Killings, which involved more than 30 people being murdered over a decade.

I never followed the killings with much interest, and with so many people killed, it's hard to make sense of everything you read in the news. But Underbelly very effectively put all the pieces together into a coherent story, which I appreciated even if elements of it were fictionalized.

Underbelly was due to come on TV many months before, but a court injunction at the last minute banned the show from airing in Victoria. Nevertheless, it became a hit in other states and many people traded DVDs or downloaded the series through the Internet.

According to Jim Schembri from The Age, the series was poor because the criminals were such dumb thugs that viewers do not care if they get murdered. The real-life Carl Williams claims that he was badly portrayed in the movie. (Underbelly portrayed Carl as a bumbling idiot.) I think it's important to emphasize that I don't think there is much correlation between morality and intelligence. You may hate someone because he is immoral but immoral people can be highly intelligent.

Something else that I found interesting is how these criminals were able to collect girlfriends and wives so easily. It's a cliche to say that women love bad men, but I suspect that most women actually know that their boyfriends or husbands have a dark side but rationalize it away because they are so attracted to the dominant personality or maybe the cash.

I watched the edited version of Underbelly. One of the characters in the show had a pixellated face.

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