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25 years after Tasmania’s Port Arthur Massacre comes the 2021 film “Nitram”, directed by Justin Kurzel and based on Martin Bryant’s life.

Whereas most movies close with actual footage or photos of the true people involved in biopics this film opens with real life TV footage of Martin in a burns unit, as a child, after an incident involving fireworks in the 1970’s and sets the macabre tone for what is to follow in one of the world’s deadliest shooting sprees.

While not an entirely accurate biopic it is a confronting and deeply disturbing one dealing with the subject matter of Australia’s worst mass murderer.

Texan actor Caleb Landry Jones spent his Covid Quarantine time on arrival in Oz studying the Aussie accent by watching countless local Soap Operas including “Home and Away” and “Neighbours”…it worked.

For his portrayal of Bryant, Jones won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor and is serious Oscar bait.

At times his performance reminds me of Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker”, where the deadly menace lies just beaneath the surface in his smile and his eyes.

Kurzel’s own wife Essie Davis plays Bryant’s love interest/friend Helen Harvey (heiress to a share in Tattersalls).

This movie asks the question could she have been his first victim.

If so the body count is even higher, because even his own fathers suicide looks suspiciously like murder.

Maurice Martin is wonderfully acted by an overweight Anthony LaPaglia, while his wife Carleen is marvellously brought to life by Judy Davis (no relation to Essie).

It’s a movie that highlights mental health issues in our community without making you feel entirely sympathetic for Martin.

He was famously diagnosed with Asperger in prison.

“Nitram” is a truly creepy, horror film in the truest sense of the word because what happens is horrific, but we are spared any blood and gore on the big screen.

Children and adults are cruel, but none of it excuses what happened at Seascape B&B or Broad Arrow Cafe on April 28, 1996.

The good news is Martin Bryant is serving 35 life sentences concurrently plus 1,652 years, without parole, to be served for the term of his natural life.

The bad news is that despite reformation to gun laws in 1996 under the John Howard Government, in Australia today there are more guns than ever in circulation.

This could happen again, unless something drastic is done to control gun ownership.

Everyone must see this movie to understand the events leading up to one of the most heinous crimes in Australia and how we can stop history repeating itself not only in Oz but everywhere.

2022-03-08 21:17:56


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