Tagged: Judy Davis

Summary: 
Events leading up to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre on Tasmania in an attempt to understand why and how the atrocity occurred.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates:  30th September 2021 (Australia), 1st July 2022 (UK), 30th March 2022 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: 24th November 2021 (Australia)

Country: Australia

Director: Justin Kurzel

Screenwriter: Shaun Grant

Cast: Essie Davis (Helen), Judy Davis (Mum), Caleb Landry Jones (Nitram), Sean Keenan (Jamie), Anthony LaPaglia (Dad), Phoebe Taylor (Riley)

Running Time: 112 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia)

OUR NITRAM REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Nitram Review:

There has been a debate that has been raged over the last decade over whether or not Australian cinema does in fact suffer from ‘tall poppy syndrome.’ In one corner we have always had people that believe that Australians unfairly criticise Australian films simply because they are in fact Australian. On the other hand, we have a group of people that claim that Australian films are criticised because they are below-standard.

Perhaps the answer to the debate was best played out around the release of new Australian crime drama Nitram. As soon as the film started to gain traction amongst critics overseas suddenly a groundswell of Australians suddenly believed that the film shouldn’t have been made. Apparently, a film about notorious Port Arthur gunman Martin Bryant was distasteful to his victims – funny that that argument has never seemed to surface when Australians happily consume true-crime series like Dr. Death and Tiger King without even a whimper.

From my point of view, I have to say that Nitram is a true masterpiece. I thought that director Justin Kurzel had made something special with Snowtown, but that barely pales into significance when compared to what he has created with Nitram.

Despite what many predicted this is not a film that glorifies the sins of Bryant. Nor does it makes apologies for what he did. Instead, it shows what kind of life he lived in the lead up to the massacre and reveals several things about his personality and mental health that many of the so-called news outlets of the day simply failed to mention in their stories at the time.

Kurzel reveals Bryant… or Niram (Caleb Landry Jones – X-Men: First Class), the name he was bullied with at school, as a misunderstood loner who found it impossible to make friends no matter what he tried. His mother (Judy Davis – The Dressmaker) seemed reluctant to have his mental health treated properly while his father (Anthony LaPaglia – Lantana) wants to incorporate his son in his life while trying to overlook his ‘weird’ behavior.

The film shows Bryant falling out with his mother and beginning a relationship with the much older Helen (Essie Davis – The Babadook) who provides him with the friendship that he is always wanted and the money that means he can live the life that he has always wanted while causing more friction between his family. The result is a catastrophic cocktail that is just waiting to explode.

We had already seen with Kurzel’s past films, especially Snowtown, that he has a special knack for making realistic and natural films and that trend continues with Nitram. At times the dialogue and the film itself is so realistic that you almost have to pinch yourself to remind yourself that this is not a documentary. That Kurzel style of filmmaking brings a power to the screen that most filmmakers could only ever dream of generating.

That power also washes over the performances of Kurzels leads. Caleb Landry Jones is amazing as Nitram. I don’t just mean amazing as a standout performance I mean amazing in the sense that if Jones doesn’t win an Oscar for this film that a serious injustice has been done with the cinematic world. Jones performance here is a once in a lifetime performance and he has made this film the kind of film that means it will still be talked about in 50 if not 100 years time.

The fact that Kurzel has the skill of making this film without glorifying what Bryant did is a testament to just how good he is as a filmmaker. The film shows that Kurzel is one of the best directors that this country has ever produced and I get the distinct feeling that he is someone that alarmingly still has his best films ahead of him. Who knows he may eventually become the greatest filmmaker Australia has ever produced.

When going into Nitram remember this is a character piece, an emotionally driven film that provides answers to one of the darkest days of Australian history. Nitram does not deserve to be a divisive film it deserves to be celebrated for the stunning piece of art that it is.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Trailer:

 Stan, Australia’s unrivalled home of original productions, today announced the Stan Original Film Nitram will premiere Wednesday, 24 November on Stan. The film is also screening in select cinemas now (where cinemas are open).

To watch and share the trailer, click here: https://youtu.be/D4cTjeEFq8Q

Nitram depicts the events leading up to one of the darkest chapters in Australian history in an attempt to understand why and how this atrocity occurred. Directed by Justin Kurzel (Stan Original Film True History of the Kelly Gang, Snowtown) and written by Shaun Grant (Penguin Bloom, Snowtown), the film stars Caleb Landry Jones (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Get Out), Essie Davis (The Babadook, Stan Original Film True History of the Kelly), Judy Davis (My Brilliant Career, The Dressmaker) and Anthony LaPaglia (Lantana, Balibo).

Nitram screened in Official Selection for Competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival and was the first Australian film to compete for the Palme D’Or in a decade. Nitram marks Kurzel’s third feature film to screen at Cannes and his second in competition. The film received a standing ovation following its world premiere screening at Cannes, with Caleb Landry Jones recognised with Best Actor honours for his performance. Nitram was also awarded the CinefestOZ Film Prize in August, in addition to being selected for competition at this year’s BFI London Film Festival.

In a statement, the filmmakers commented: “Nitram was written as a response to the proliferation of regular mass shootings across the world and is an exploration of the issues and events that led to this atrocity, rather than a re-enactment of it, to bring the gun control debate to the fore and to try to ensure history does not repeat itself.”

Nitram (Caleb Landry Jones) lives with his mother (Judy Davis) and father (Anthony LaPaglia) in suburban Australia in the mid-1990s. He lives a life of isolation and frustration at never being able to fit in. That is until he unexpectedly finds a close friend in a reclusive heiress, Helen (Essie Davis). However, when that friendship meets its tragic end, and Nitram’s loneliness and anger grow, he begins a slow descent into a nightmare that culminates in the most nihilistic and heinous of acts.

A GoodThing Productions film in conjunction with Stan, the Stan Original Film Nitram is produced by GoodThing Productions’ Nick Batzias and Virginia Whitwell (2040The Australian Dream), alongside Justin Kurzel and Shaun Grant. Madman Entertainment are handling theatrical distribution, with Wild Bunch International handling worldwide sales of the film.

The Stan Original Film Nitram is in select cinemas now and will premiere Wednesday, 24 November on Stan.

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Transmission Films invites Australian audiences on a personal journey through Australian cinema with David Stratton, our most revered film critic, when DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE releases in cinemas this year.
DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE is an intimate journey with David Stratton, from his first boyhood cinema experience in England, to his migration to Australia as a ‘ten pound pom’ in 1963 and onto his present day reflections on the iconic themes that run through our cinematic legacy.
While David turned his passion for cinema into a profession, a growing band of courageous Australians turned their enthusiasm for storytelling into an extraordinary body of work. Alongside David, this absorbing documentary includes commentary from some of the most recognisable names in Australian cinema including Gillian Armstrong, Eric Bana, Bryan Brown, Russell Crowe, Judy Davis, Nicole Kidman, George Miller, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Fred Schepisi, Warwick Thornton, Jacki Weaver and Hugo Weaving.
“David Stratton is a true champion of Australian cinema. The opportunity to share his unique personal story on the big screen is a privilege,” said Transmission Films Joint Managing Director Andrew Mackie.
DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE is written and directed by Sally Aitken (Getting Frank Gehry, Streets of Your Town) and produced by Jo-anne McGowan and executive produced by Jennifer Peedom (Sherpa).
DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE will open in cinemas nationally on March 9th. David Stratton will be in attendance at select Q&A screenings across the country from late February, with more details coming soon.