Based on the Aramoana Massacre that occurred on 13 November and 14 November 1990. Resident David Gray, an unemployed gun collector, went on a rampage in which 13 people were shot dead, before Gray himself was shot by police.
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Ordinary people find extraordinary courage in the face of madness. On 13-14 November 1990 that madness came to Aramoana, a small New Zealand seaside village. It came in the form of a lone gunman with a high-powered semi-automatic rifle. As he stalked his victims the terrified and confused residents were trapped in the village for 24 hours while a handful of under-resourced and underarmed local policeman risked their lives trying to find him and save the survivors. By dawn 13 people lay dead. This is a true story. Written by
Chris Cole is wearing a T-shirt that says: "Save our beach. Stop the smelter." This refers to the late 1970s proposal to build an aluminum smelter at Aramoana, which would have destroyed the township and threatened a local wildlife reserve, and met with a lot of resistance from residents. See more »
The roads at Aramoana and the road to Port Chalmers were all unsealed gravel in 1990. The subsequently sealed roads are visible in the film, like when Bryson is fleeing Gray in the van, and when Guthrie and Anderson arrive in Aramoana. See more »
It was inevitable that - like the Stan Graham saga of 1941 made into the movie "Bad Blood" - the Aramoana massacre of 1990 would eventually be turned into a feature film. To their credit, the cast and crew of this have done a good job of it and perhaps just as importantly, the script writers have attempted to provide a little insight into why it happened, although the full background is something that people will need to read the two books that were written about it to get. The film starts in the morning of the day it started (the events lasted into the next day) and continues - with only a couple of brief flashbacks on the part of Gray - till a conclusion just after Gray is shot dead by police. It manages to keep fairly true with the actual events (as described in the two books) although there are some departures of varying importance. The film works well as a drama and unlike a Hollywood movie doesn't portray anyone as a superhero, or thickly apply sentimentality. The cinematography is also superb.
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