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‘Nitram’ Trailer: Caleb Landry Jones Stunned Cannes in Portrayal of Australia’s Deadliest Mass Shooter

IndieWire
IndieWire
 2022-02-10

The Port Arthur shooting of 1996 in Tasmania remains Australia’s deadliest incidents committed by a single person. That’s a horrifying piece of history to take on for a movie, but Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel takes a slanted approach to the material by not showing the actual events, but instead what built to them through the eyes of the perpetrator. In his new film, “ Nitram ,” Caleb Landry Jones play the protagonist (here named Nitram) in a portrait of a psychopath brewing. Kurzel is naturally the fit for the material, as he has plumbed the depths of the dark side of Australian history before with “True History of the Kelly Gang” and “The Snowtown Murders.” Exclusively on IndieWire, watch the trailer for “Nitram” below.

Caleb Landry Jones has been a go-to for playing feral, gnarly characters, from “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” to the gnashing drug addicts in the Safdies’ “Heaven Knows What” and David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks: The Return.” Here, he similarly goes to psychological extremes in a full-bodied and captivatingly messy performance — one that won him the Best Actor prize at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival under the jury led by president Spike Lee.

The film also features veteran Australian screen actors Judy Davis and Anthony LaPaglia as Nitram’s mother and father. They live in suburban Australia in the mid-1990s, with Nitram living a life of isolation among his peers and family, never quite fitting in. He eventually forms a close friendship with a reclusive heiress named Helen (played by Aussie “Babadook” favorite Essie Davis, who is also married to Kurzel and has starred in a number of his features). But when that relationship tragically ends, Nitram’s internal rage and solitude only get worse as he heads on the path that will lead to the inevitable disaster that inspired the movie’s making.

The film is written by Shaunt Grant, who also penned Kurzel’s “True History of the Kelly Gang” as well as Cate Shortland’s kidnapping drama “Berlin Syndrome.” Nominated for eight Australian Academy Awards, this is Kurzel’s first film since “Kelly Gang” and continues his return to homegrown indies after directing 2016’s video game adaptation “Assassin’s Creed.”

IFC Films will release “Nitram” March 30 in theaters, on digital rental, and streaming on AMC+.

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