Director – Robert Sarkies (Scarflies)
Cast – Karl Urban, Matthew Sunderland, Lois Lawn
Plot – Based on the tragic true story of the 1990 Aramoana massacre in New Zealand, a massacre in which the lives of 13 people including children were cut short by the crazed gunman David Gray (Sunderland). Out of the Blue examines the day in which this quite sleepy town will never forget.
“No crime in being eccentric, or they’d lock up half the Spit.”
Review by Eddie on 27/6/2013
No doubt slipping through many peoples radar upon release in 2006 Out of the Blue is a solid re telling of the astoundingly true story that shocked a country back in 1990. The movie is competently directed by Robert Sarkies, a New Zealand native no doubt affected by the events that occurred in the idyllic sea town of Aramoana.
Out of the Blue’s main focus in centred on the neighbours and residents of the town, not so much on the shooter Gray, his motives remain unsolved and the film does not provide any solid answers in this regarded other than it seemed like a long time coming and unfortunately in November 1990 he finally cracked. Sunderland’s performance as Gray is a fine piece of acting, a step above the others in the film, making the film less the sum of it’s parts.
The film was lucky to secure the services of Urban who no doubt worked on a much lower fee than he is used to, but his small town cop Nick Harvey seems a little underwritten and the film suffers from this. Without a central character to really get behind the film seems to drag and be less involving than perhaps it should be, no one is really given time to develop their characters sufficiently, no doubt a ploy by Sarkies in making the film, perhaps wanting to give each real life character equal billing, a highlight of these is Helen (Lois Lawn) your friendly neighbourhood granny army crawling through drenches to call for help!
Out of the Blue also suffers some movie clichés which bring it down quite a peg or to, a prime example being a scene in which Nick has Gray lined up in his sights and the typical good guy act of not pulling the trigger occurs. These little aspects of the film may seem small but it halts the films believability and hampers the tension that could otherwise be created.
As a credible re-telling of the true life story and as a little seen movie you could do a lot worse than Out of the Blue. It’s a film that has moments of real stark beauty and terror and a film with some sadly equally amateur and unfocussed moments. If you know nothing of the day of terror in Aramoana this is a film that will no doubt prove interesting, just don’t expect to care as much as you would have hoped.
2 and a half stubby shorts out of 5