Out of the Blue (Aramoana) (2007)
Out of the Blue, New Zealand writer-director Robert Sarkies' long-awaited follow-up to his 1999 feature debut, Scarfies, recreates the events that led up to and surrounded David Gray's November 13, 1990 mass murder of 13 locals in the town of Aramoana, New Zealand. Sarkies, however, approaches the material not as exploitation nor as an action picture, but -- like Terrence Malick in his 1973 true crime picture Badlands -- as an understated and detached drama. Sarkies uses a contemplative and reflective approach and a small-town pace and resists gratuitousness, intersecting several tales of casualties and survivors and downplaying the brutal violence. One story involves the contentious relationship between fiftysomething Jim (Timothy Bartlett) and his mother (Lois Lawn); another has a mom, Julia Anne (Tandi Wright) informing her daughter Rewa (Jacinta Wawatai) and her beau's children that they plan to share a house; and in a third, eccentric gun nut David Gray (Matthew Sunderland) cracks and guns down Julia's boyfriend, Gerry (Simon Ferry), in cold blood. These only represent the first three threads in a complex narrative tapestry; the story ultimately gives way to tense hours as the locals, realizing that a predator is on the loose and will kill anyone he can find, barricade their homes and cower in fear. Cinematographer Greig Fraser gives the picture a chilly, wintry aesthetic, rich with whites and blues. The film co-stars Karl Urban; Graeme Tetley co-authored the script with Sarkies. … More
as Nick Harvey
as David Gray
as Helen Dickson
as Garry Holden
as Julie-Anne Bryson
as Paul Knox
as Stu Guthrie
as Chiquita Holden
as Jimmy Dickson
as Ross Percy
as AOS/ATS Officer
as Stacey Percy
as Dorothy Crimp
as Bank Manager
as Aleki Tali
as Dion Percy
as Brian Wilson
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Critic Reviews for Out of the Blue (Aramoana)
The usual dramatic affectations applied to such true-life material are largely absent; instead, Sarkies focuses on various quotidian elements that take on weight as the inevitable draws closer.
A claustrophobic dramatic reconstruction of a 22-hour shooting spree in the sleepy coastal town of Aramoana, New Zealand, that left 13 people dead.
Brilliantly directed, thoroughly gripping thriller that is both deeply moving and genuinely terrifying -- this is one of the best films of the year.
This is not a feel-good movie by any stretch, but it gets amazing marks on almost every front and really needs to be seen.
Harrowing and heartbreaking, this is the film of the week by many a mile. Despite playing in just a handful of cinemas, I urge you to track it down.
A strong drama clearly dedicated to exploring its real life events, if not hugely memorable in its own right.
Scrupulously avoiding sensationalism, the film concentrates much less on the killer, than on the other locals engulfed in the tragedy.
The massacre still touches a raw nerve in New Zealand but, filming at a neighbouring town and informed by survivors' accounts, Sarkies manages both a sensitive and excruciatingly taut docu-thriller that's refreshing for the genuine weight of its tragedy.
In no way an easy watch, but as a meticulous record of a tragedy and the feats of bravery it inspired, this is an excellent movie.
A haunting, uplifting and never-exploitative portrayal of a terrifying real-life tragedy.
It's not to say that the filmmakers should have resorted to pulp dramatics, but in correctly straining to not exploit their subjects, they forgot to fill in the spaces left behind.
With his carefully controlled pacing and superb use of sound, Sarkies draws the viewer deep into the experience of a town caught completely off-guard by a kind of violence they could never have expected, and won't soon forget.
Sarkies avoids the genre's conventional trappings and prefers instead to concentrate on the ways in which the people of Aramoana deal with the unfolding event.
Robert Sarkies' dramatization of that event is as sensitive to its subject as it is stark in its rendering.
Without such thematic resonance, it plays like a more elaborate version of one of the dramatic re-creations seen on any number of true-crime television programs.
Like Steven Spielberg's historical epics, the film shows the nastiest incidents from a great distance, or cuts away before a bullet's impact to show an onlooker's shocked reaction. The director confronts horror without wallowing in it.
The persistent attack of the lone, merciless gunman is reason enough to keep your eyes glued to the screen.
There's some nifty soft-focus cinematography and fine performances, but otherwise, not much to resonate on this side of the pond.
Audience Reviews for Out of the Blue (Aramoana)
I often sit back to watch a "BIG" film only to end up thinking "What's the point?". Take X-Men Origins: Wolverine for example, a prequel about an indestructible man. We know he lives, we know he can't really be hurt. Then I watch a film like Out of the Blue. All I knew was the title and that Karl Urban would be in it. The film builds up at a nice pace, showing people doing normal daily things. There's one "eccentric" that adds a nervous tone, and rightly so. To say more would be to spoil it. It is based on a true story, but one I hadn't heard of. The film was full of the kind of nail-biting tension and shocking moments that are absent from those big blockbusters. It's shot perfectly and punctuates the one hour set-piece with quick quiet moments. No emotional blackmail to speak of either, and the excitement comes from nerves and not an overbearing, blood pumping score.More
One of the only movies to totally upset me.Based on the true story set in New Zealand about a lone gunman thats go's berserk killing 13 men,women and children in a rurul town in 1990.To make it unsettling is that it plays like a documantry and that the performances are so real that it makes you feel that your there.This is certanly no hollywood movie.There's no heros and no one man army to save the day just a real story with real people and a place in history that your won't forget easy after watching this movie.One stand out performance is from Karl Urban who prove more of a actor here than any of the hollywood movies he as been in lately.More
Disturbing story of a lone gunman on a killing spree in New Zealand which is well handled but offers little by way of explanation for sn increasingly common phenomenon.More
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