Justin Kurzel is one of the true success stores when it comes to horror directors. Starting out with the unsettlingly disturbing The Snowtown Murders in 2011, he has moved throughout the years into bigger projects that encompass many different genres (The True History of the Kelly Gang, Macbeth, Assassin’s Creed) while always retaining a thread of horror throughout his projects. Nitram, which has been making waves through the festival circuit for the last year, including Boston Underground Film Festival, where we caught it, is the culmination of his years of craft and his most accomplished yet.
Nitram is not a horror film in the traditional sense, but flirts with the genre while sticking to the dark drama biopic that it is. Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out, Antiviral, The Dead Don’t Die) stars as Nitram, a man living with his parents in Australia seized with frustration at his relationship to others. The film is notably based off of the true story of the 1996 Port Arthur shooting that led to guns being outlawed in Australia. Essie Davis (The Babadook) also stars in this and serves as a fantastic foil to Landry’s character.
This film adeptly balances the subject matter well without exploiting or dismissing the main character, while still portraying him as unsympathetic. The dramatization itself is well done and extremely engaging. This film had the mark of great direction all over it and deserves all the praise it receives. Those who are into true crime fans will dig this well made and well-acted exploration of the motivations behind the Port Arthur massacre.
Nitram is available to rent on VOD. If you’re not convinced, check out the trailer below.