Saw this film in passing, had no idea what it was about — did not read any reviews before watching it.
It all became clear as Nitram began to unfold. Smart cookies might have already picked up that Nitram is Martin spelt backwards.
From here it’s a just hop. skip and a jump to the realisation this is a film about Martin Bryant and the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre, the biggest mass shooting in Australian history — in which 35 died and another 23 people were wounded.
In essence, you could say Nitram is a film that needed to be made, but one that demanded a respectful passage of time before the events of that terrible day could be retold.
Is 25 years sufficient? Some people close to the events of those two days don’t think so (it spanned two days).
Just two cinemas screened Nitram, the Star Theatre in Launceston and State Cinema in Hobart — although the State chose not to advertise it.
She buys buys him a car, an old Volvo, although he doesn’t have a driver’s licence.
Not long after this Nitram announces that he is leaving home to move in with Helen, who offers to put him up in a spare room.
The film hints at a sexual relationship, but that’s as far as it goes.
Life looks like it is taking a turn for the better for Nitram, but it’s just the rise before the fall.
Helen is killed in a car accident that puts Nitram in hospital and later his depressed father takes his own life after missing out on buying a bed and breakfast business.
Nitram, who inherits Helen’s home and more than $500,000, offers to buy the B&B — but the owners decline.
Increasingly isolated, withdrawn and resentful, Nitram hits the bottle, starts taking overseas holidays by himself and begins practising his shooting with his air rifle — he’s a good shot.
Then, while watching the news one night, Nitram sees a report about the Dunblane massacre in Scotland.
He becomes obsessed with guns, purchasing a shotgun and unlicensed automatic rifle from a local gun shop, as well as ordering a handgun.
You all know what happens next . . .
The epitaph reads: “On April 28th 1996, thirty-five people were killed and another twenty-three wounded in Port Arthur, Tasmania. The lone gunman was sentenced to thirty-five life sentences. The events of that day resulted in an overhaul of Australia’s gun laws and the introduction of a National Firearms Agreement. The reforms were agreed to in twelve days. Over 640,000 firearms were bought back by the government and destroyed. No State or Territory has been fully compliant with the National Firearms Agreement. There are now more firearms owned in Australia than in 1996.”