Out of the Blue

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The ViewDunedin Review

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Review byMatthew Turner12/03/2008

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Brilliantly directed, thoroughly gripping thriller that is both deeply moving and genuinely terrifying – this is one of the best films of the year.

What's it all about?
Based on the Aramoana Massacre of 1990, Out of the Blue begins in a tiny coastal town in New Zealand, where the local residents are just beginning to go about their day. However, a frustrating visit to the bank and a gun shop has pushed local loner David Gray (Matthew Sunderland) over the edge and he embarks on a shooting spree, killing everyone that comes near him.

Eventually the cops (including Karl Urban and William Kircher) arrive but they quickly realise they're out of their depth, as Gray proves both elusive and savage in his brutality. Meanwhile, elderly resident Helen Dickson (Lois Lawn) is trapped in her house, with the killer getting ever closer.

The Good
Robert Sarkies' direction is nothing short of astonishing. There's no sensationalism or Hollywood-style manipulation here and yet the film is absolutely terrifying and heart-stoppingly suspenseful from the moment Gray fires his first shot.

The ensemble cast are terrific, delivering naturalistic performances that are so good that this almost feels like a documentary. Indeed, we don't get to know much about the characters but they seem instantly real and recognisable and we fear for every one of them, particularly Dickson, whose experience is all the more frightening for the audience, because she has no way of knowing just how dangerous Gray has become.

The Great
In additon to creating scenes of extraordinary tension, Sarkies also succeeds in portraying the heroism of the local police, ambulance men and other officials, who realised that they were ill-equipped to deal with this kind of menace but who put themselves at great risk to do their jobs and protect the townsfolk.

Worth seeing?
Out of the Blue is a remarkable film that succeeds as both a gripping thriller, a terrifying urban horror story and a profoundly moving testament to a real-life tragedy. Highly recommended.

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