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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Story follows the divergent agendas of criminals, cops and lawyers as they collide over a shipment of illegal firearms and a double homicide. Earl Pike, a criminal, tries to get his family's illegal gun collection to a safe haven.
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 »
When Guthrie is on the radio while driving to Aramoana he says David Gray is 37. Gray was 33 at the time. See more »
I went to see this having read a couple of books on the subject several years ago, including the one on which the film is based.
Wasn't sure what to expect as there's been a lot of hype & media publicity surrounding this film.
I must say I certainly wasn't disappointed.
This is an excellent film. I haven't seen director Sarkies' other film Scarfies but I was impressed with this. No doubt he's headed for bigger things if this film is any indication.
Take a bow Mr Sarkies, you've already got the NZ Film Awards sewn up.
This is the kind of film you don't see too often, shocking and extremely tense, but without relying on the graphic violence and bloodspatter far too prevalent in mainstream films these days. Add to that this is a true story and there's plenty of attention to detail.
A few other 'bigger' directors could take note from this that the audience aren't all idiots. They can figure out what's happening without squibs going off left, right and centre and spent cartridges ejecting from the chamber in slow motion.
As the cinema sat in silence, I swear I could hear my own heart pounding at times as my blood pressure went through the roof. A great movie going experience not felt too often.
I wasn't sure if If I was watching a reenactment or remastered old news footage as the specialist Police moved in on the town. It looked very authentic.
In spite of his dastardly deeds, one couldn't help but feel a tad of sympathy for the bad guy who is portrayed as a sad, lonely dysfunctional person who's mental health gradually deteriorates. More good work by the director and certainly different from the norm.
It wasn't perfect though, the pacing of the film seemed a bit out of kilter in a few places, while I thought some of the acting in the film was brilliant at times, but not quite so at others.
The up close gun fire as well probably fell a little bit short in the decibel department and could possibly use a touch up.
That aside, on a global scale it's a small budget film so any shortcomings are excused.
I give it an 8 because I'm a very tough marker, with a 10 being nearly impossible.
Given the subject matter, I don't think I could call this entertaining, but it sure is an experience & somewhat unforgettable, enough to make a grown man cry.
In short, see this film!
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