Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Out of the Blue|
Actors: Karl Urban, Matthew Sunderland, Lois Lawn, Simon Ferry, Tandi Wright
Director: Robert Sarkies
One horrific day, David Gray suddenly snapped. Based on the true story of a quiet, friendly town turned nightmare, Gray massacred those he'd known for all of his life, holding the whole town hostage through the night. A st... more »
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A Meticulously Researched Account
Aaron Gutsell | Clementon, NJ | 04/17/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For someone who grew up only a couple of hundred kilometres from the scene of the Aromoana shootings, it is difficult to write an unbiased review. Factually, "Out of the Blue" is as accurate an account as it is possible to bring to the big screen, and the acting, scenery, and atmosphere are flawless. The movie's relevance for a U.S. audience is as a societal lens that focuses on the many equivalent shooting tragedies that beset the United States year after year. That such alienation and hatred can be felt in a small town in a land far, far away amidst backdrops like those seen in "The Lord of the Rings," rather than at a U.S. university campus or a McDonald's is a reflection on the ubiquity of selfishness, sickness, and guns.
No one wants to see a hyper-accurate account of Cho Seung-hui in the days preceding the Virginia Tech massacre, but viewing a similar downward spiral and the resulting tragedy may be easier for many audiences at a distance of 10,000 miles as a small New Zealand town faces down a demon in the form of David Gray. The courage displayed by little old ladies crawling about under fire to help others can only give hope to us all, and the final scene where Gray is roughly shackled and the police smoke cigarettes while he bleeds out is a satisfying glimpse of Kiwi justice. ANZUS is the Australia, New Zealand, United States treaty alliance, a commonality written in ink; "Out of the Blue" is a commonality we share through tragedy. Is this a review of events or a movie- you may well ask- but sometimes the two are inextricable, and the only way to face down the incomprehensible is through the medium of film."
A respectful and thorough retelling...
Steve Kuehl | Ben Lomond, CA | 06/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very few films can tackle the horrors and details of such an event yet still address the sensitivities and desires to get it right. Describing the story in the film is not needed as it can be found in the book and online. The filmmakers painstakingly reproduced the events without much artistic license (like BHD and Bridge/Kwai) so I will review the R1 DVD version.
Karl Urban performed in his best role to date. He was very believable and showed a sense of compassion and fear that made the film revolve around him in a powerful way. Seeing him in the likes of Doom, Bourne and Pathfinder makes this title even more important in taking these kinds of roles. The supporting cast was very respectful in their portrayals even down to the darkness and psychosis of the shooter.
The DVD extras are outstanding in providing a lay person with the details and real footage of what happened that day. The producers and cast all poured their hearts into auditioning and making this movie, both elements of which are shown on the associated docus. The transfer was very clear and the menus easy to navigate. Once you see the footage of the crime scenes you realize they tried to get every detail remade down to the letter, including the way windows had shattered and bodies had come to rest.
I had a couple customers already say they forwarded through the "slow" parts in the beginning, which do last for the first 31 1/2 minutes but it is a necessary monument to what those families went through that afternoon and evening. I highly recommend this film for those that want to see a respectful and well made portrayal of a horrendous event."
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 07/25/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Released completely under the radar and only grossing a truly pitiful $728 in its one US engagement, Robert Sarkies' Out of the Blue is one of the most cruelly overlooked films of recent years. The material doesn't sound too promising - a true story about a eccentric loaner in the ramshackle New Zealand coastal town of Aramoana who went on a 22-hour shooting rampage and killed 13 people, including four children, in 1990. The crime was all the more shocking in a country with such a low crime rate: this was the sort of thing that happened in other countries. (Their previous worst mass murderer had been Stan Graham, who murdered seven people in 1942, the subject of 1991's excellent and similarly underseen Bad Blood).
The potential for exploitation or cheap TV movie of the week dramatics was certainly there, yet the film is made with such understated sincerity, putting the focus firmly on the victims and the community - not just Karl Urban's smalltown cop completely out of his depth as he's unable to help people he knows and loves but also unlikely real-life heroine in 72-year old Helen Dickson, who dragged herself back and forth through a ditch to bring help and comfort to one of the victims. It's the sheer ordinariness of how they cope that is so devastating. The performances are all naturalistic and utterly convincing, only adding to the power in a quietly heartbreaking scene in the back of a police car where Karl Urban's cop whispers a bedtime story to a wounded child as his partner blankly holds a dead child in his arms.
As a sidenote, it's interesting how much of the film works as a (presumably unintentional) critique of Paul Greengrass' cheapjack technique. There's an interesting use of sound design that occasionally briefly removes elements from the soundtrack to create a sense that something isn't quite right and an intelligent use of handheld camera from Greig Fraser that doesn't equate slipping in and out of focus and constantly missing the action with veracity Paul Greengrass style but uses it much more subtly. While the townspeople and cops are shot with a handheld camera as if it were mounted on a tripod or a dolly to give an understated slight vitality rather than advertise itself, the killer is mostly shot from a tripod in relatively static takes subtly setting him apart from the community he ultimately turns on. It's not about drawing attention to the technique (and by proxy the director) but putting you into the film, the style all but invisible and in the service of the story and the characters. Nor does Sarkies feel the need to demonise any of the victims (as Greengrass did in United 93 to a German passenger whose family chose not to co-operate with his film) to add some cheap fictional drama and conflict to make the film `play' better: this isn't about producing a quick sugar rush at any cost, it's about ordinary, mundane human beings suddenly finding themselves thrown into a overwhelming situation they have no control over and its very real power comes from it's determination not to oversensationalize.
The DVD comes with an excellent selection of extras on both the real tragedy and the making of the film. Highly recommended."