I have always been curious about studying characters like the Joker. It is haunting enough to imagine what depression or loneliness can do to you. As they say always put mind over matter but it is easier said than done. I remember watching The Joker a few years back when I was at my lowest emotionally, and I had to literally talk myself out of it that the character should NOT create an impact on you. And this was the sole reason as to why I was not very keen to watch the Australian film Nitram which was based on the culprit behind the mass shooting in 1996 in Australia. The film was on the backburner of my watchlist and I had promised myself that I would watch it only and only when I am in a good frame of mind. That day finally arrived last night where I was in a good headspace and had nothing new to watch. With that I finished watching Nitram, is it worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Nitram follows the events leading up to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Australia. The story is haunting and would potentially send a shiver down your spine. Right from the time when a number flashes on your screen for support if someone you know is “ill”, I instantly knew that this may just be a hard watch. The screenplay standing at just under 2 hours is taut and it wastes no time in introducing you to the protagonist who is a bit of a rebel yet a loner suffering from depression. The streaks of violence are clearly embedded in him as he gets little to no support from his parents especially his mom. Soon the protagonist meets a companion whose stay is cut short due to an “accident” which further sinks him in anxiety and depression. The violent streak which was evident soon transforms into harming other around him either physically or with the use of guns. Each step of his is a repurcussion of his past. And so it was so important for him to seek medical help which he did briefly before going in denial. This was such an absorbing character in a screenplay which was character driven. The final bloodbath is more mental and could potentially leave you with scars. A brilliant piece of writing this!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversation but a crucial cog in the drama and they manage to hold your attention throughout. The BGM is sparingly used and there are long periods of silence which are haunting! The cinematography is top notch. Director Justin Kurzel does an astonishing job in handling a delicate subject. He is able to give a glimpse into the psyche of the protagonist and boy was that haunting!
The performances are top notch. Sean Keenan as Jamie has his moments to shine. Phoebe Taylor as Riley is brilliant and is wonderfully restrained. Anthony LaPaglia as Nitram’s dad is a complex character who is suffering a depression of a different kind is refreshingly good. Judy Davis as Nitram’s mum is top notch and those glares which gives are intimidating. But the show belongs to Caleb Landry Jones who as Nitram is terrifyingly brilliant. His actions and mannerisms are haunting although he essayed the character who just wanted some love at the end of the day. Absolutely a brilliantly portrayal of a depressed person.
Nitram is a haunting portrayal of depression and a film which comes with my highest recommendation.