An inconsequential dramatization of a consequential event, Robert Sarkies’s Out of the Blue suggests a Folgers Crystals commercial with a body count. On November 13, 1990, Aramoana resident David Gray went on the deadliest criminal shooting rampage in New Zealand’s history, killing 13 people over the course of several hours, and if the Wikipedia entry for “Aramoana massacre” is to be believed, Sarkies has put on an incredibly detailed reproduction. Beginning with and frequently falling back on scenic shots of Aramoana, a beachy town where hobbits and Enya wouldn’t seem out of place, Out of the Blue essentially plays out as a banal portrait of Eden interruptus. A logistics man, Sarkies indulges second-rate horror film devices to convey that Gray may have suffered from schizophrenia, but he is not sincerely devoted to understanding the man’s mental condition, possibly because a humane portrait of Gray wouldn’t have passed muster with the people of Aramoana, who allowed Sarkies to shoot the film inside their town. “Why” doesn’t matter to him, only “who, what, where, and how”—specifically who died, what survivors did to avoid getting shot, where the dead fell to the ground, and how police officers responded to the scene. The film understands the sometimes deadly cost of heroism, but like so much of the cinema being exported from the country and its neighbor Australia, it’s so deliberately genteel as to border on kitsch.
- IFC First Take
- 103 min
- Robert Sarkies
- Graeme Tetley, Robert Sarkies
- Karl Urban, Matthew Sunderland, Lois Lawn, Simon Ferry, Tandi Wright, Paul Glover, William Kircher, Georgina Fabish, Fayth Rasmussen
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