Although “Nitram“Never shows the unspoken terrible massacre committed by its protagonist, the entire film pulsates with the fearful anticipation of the unspeakable event. It is not an easy movie to watch, to know what is coming, but to remain completely powerless, like watching a car accident in motion and not being able to stop it.
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All warning signs are for Martin Bryant (Caleb Landry Jones, in a truly chameleon-like performance that has since won the Best Actor award Cannes), which the film never names directly. From the first archival footage of the real Bryant at the Tasmanian hospital, where he is recovering from a firecracker incident, it is clear that he feels no compassion or consequences like the average person does. Wounded by his own erratic behavior, he is perfectly content to repeat what he did just because he enjoys it. He is an outsider who keeps people at a distance, misunderstands social cues, and does not fully register other people’s pain. For example, he cannot fully bond with his parents, especially his mother Carleen (Judy Davis), whose deep-seated pain of raising a hard-to-love son manifests itself as lively unsentimentality. He also struggles to befriend his peers, who view him with a mixture of fear, ridicule, and disgust, and label him with the awkward nickname that gives the film its title. It wasn’t until he met Helen (Essie Davis), the eccentric heiress of a lottery fortune with a penchant for Gilbert and Sullivan, that he finally feels at home – until the only semblance of real connection he’s experienced is unexpectedly ripped from him, and again, he’s left to his own devices to do terrible things.
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In “Nitram”, director Justin Kurzel (“Macbeth“,” True story of the Kelly Gang“) Examines a sensitive issue. The story could resonate even deeper with American viewers, for whom mass shootings have tragically become a frequent headline spot and an endemic part of American culture. Unlike American law, which was incredibly slow to respond to a mass armed violence epidemic, the Australian government acted quickly and passed a law banning offensive weapons just days after the massacre. 25 years after the incident, the subject feels like a new wound to Australia, and so artfully staged, “Nitram” still reproduces the raw pain of recent history.
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It’s hard to tell if this is for better or for worse, especially when the film itself seems insecure as well; You can feel it tiptoe around several delicate fault lines. It cannot sensationalize the crime for entertainment value (and largely avoid it), but it cannot underestimate the extent of its trauma either. It resists an overly humanization of its protagonist – sympathy for the violent criminal of this magnitude would be read as a perverse fascination – but this contradicts the basic rules of fictional filmmaking, a medium that is supposed to arouse empathy for its characters. It runs the risk of demonizing mental illness (a trap it partially falls into, with a discussion of antidepressants that feels rather superficial), but it also cannot deny that mental illness and access to military weapons are historically dangerous Combination were. It also does a gentle act of careful erasure, often obscuring Landry Jones’ face in straggly, shaggy hair, never naming the character, and apparently trying to rob the killer of additional fame, oxygen, or attention in that regard.
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Caught in the nexus of so many conflicting restrictions, “Nitram” is a confusing but powerful character study of a person who is capable of doing extraordinarily evil and feeling almost nothing. Furthermore, it is an indictment of a broken system whose negligence has facilitated and even encouraged the continuation of this type of crime, all for the sake of capitalist gain (hello America). Skilfully made and played phenomenally, “Nitram” is not a stumbling block – on the contrary, it is an emotional sucker. But apart from a fundamental opposition to violence, she is also not entirely sure of her demeanor, of her aesthetics more certain than the exact shade of the truth she is telling.
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When “Nitram” works, it owes its success to the strength of its performance. It is amazing to learn that Caleb Landry Jones (whose other appearances in “Three billboards outside of Ebbing, Missouri “ and “Get out“Share tonal Resonances” is from Texas; he perfects not only the accent but also the physicality of the character, his awkward laziness, and his unsettlingly empty gaze. Jones is a master of character work in both muted and intense scenes; he conjures up the unpredictability of a ticking time bomb, stirs up Martin’s pent-up anger and lets it explode. It conveys the feeling of Martin’s bizarre logic, even if Kurzel refuses full access to the character’s inner world; For example, when Helen denies him a real gun, he replies with horrid monotony: “But I want it and you have the money.” However, Jones also conveys a real sense that his character is based on the distance between him and the vastness World rubs; It comes closest to humanizing the character, though he hesitates to shift the blame completely off of him. Davis, too, offers a complex, tragic portrait of an embarrassed mother hardened by years of attempts to raise an unruly child. A less nuanced performance may have reduced Carleen to either a tearful mess or a portrait of callous indifference, but Davis masters the delicate balance of fear, love, anger, and sadness of a mother whose love cannot reach its recipient. On her last visit to her son before the massacre, she throws a long, fearful look up the stairwell, as if she suspects the future and wants the power to change it – but in the end she is just as powerless as the rest of us.
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You did not see it
What exactly is the point of “Nitram”? It’s partly a cautionary story, partly a plea for gun ownership policies to be strengthened. It is also undeniably a portrait of a troubled young man whose inability to fit into the status quo turns out to be tragic. Although the portrait is neither loving nor flattering, it does require a certain level of sympathy, even if that sympathy is very slight or takes the form of pity. There is no doubt that “Nitram” is a powerful demonstration of filmmaking. But the question remains: who is it for? [B]
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