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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The Trailer for 'Nitram' Promises a Haunting Exploration of the Events Leading Up to a Horrific Tragedy

Directed by Justin Kurzel ('Snowtown', 'The True History of the Kelly Gang'), the Australian drama explores the events leading up to the Port Arthur massacre.
By Sarah Ward
July 08, 2021
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By Sarah Ward
July 08, 2021
  shares

As happens every year, more than a few Australian films will reach local screens in 2021. Some have already proven exceptional, others have earned the exact opposite description, and more flicks to come will fall into both camps. But great, average and terrible movies alike, no homegrown title that hits cinemas and/or streaming this year will garner as much attention as Nitram.

It's the first Aussie feature to play in the Cannes Film Festival's coveted competition in a decade, it's one of the big local premieres at this year's Melbourne International Film Festival, and it's headed to Australian cinemas and then Stan after that. Read the movie's moniker backwards, however, and you'll see why it has already attracted controversy.

Reuniting Snowtown and True Story of the Kelly Gang filmmaker Justin Kurzel with screenwriter Shaun Grant, who penned both movies, Nitram steps through the lead up to the events in Port Arthur 25 years ago. Caleb Landry Jones (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) plays the eponymous figure, who lives with his mother (Judy Davis, The Dressmaker) and father (Anthony LaPaglia, Below), and finds a friend in a reclusive heiress named Helen (Essie Davis, Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears). Of course, while the film isn't specifically about the tragedy of April 28 and 29, 1996 — promotional materials stress that it's about the time leading up to those dates — every Australian knows where the story goes from there.

Before anyone has seen the feature, Nitram has already sparked debate about whether any film should explore this traumatic chapter of Australia's past. Thanks to their last two collaborations, Kurzel and Grant have an impressive history when it comes to tackling the nation's darker and thornier moments, however — and if Snowtown especially is any guide, the result will be difficult but must-see viewing.

From the just-dropped first trailer, too, audiences look set for a haunting movie. In response to the conversation already surrounding the film, the filmmakers have advised that "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."

Check out the trailer below:

Nitram will have its Australian premiere at the 2021 Melbourne International Film Festival, and will release in local cinemas afterwards — and stream via Stan — with exact dates yet to be announced.

Published on July 08, 2021 by Sarah Ward

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