Aroview: A moving, uncomfortably harrowing account of New Zealand’s worst mass murder, bringing the trauma of 1990’s Aramoana massacre to the screen with sensitivity, respect, and a profound sense of human resilience.
Distilling events before, during and after David Gray’s unforeseeable rampage, dir. Sarkies’ (SCARFIES) one point of contention is to portray the Aramoana resident quite explicitly as a paranoid, gun-collecting loner, and early on the film teeters precariously towards serial killer clichés. Gray, however, is played with extraordinary focus by Matthew Sutherland, and Sarkies quickly buries the threat of violent spectacle by relaying a sense of arbitrariness and disbelief in the killing that follows, and by allowing the terror to unfold in an organic and realistic way.
Although reminiscent in tone to the deathly procession of Gus Van Sant's ELEPHANT, the film’s overwhelming triumph is not as an elegy, but as a paean to the human spirit, with the profound courage of the victims and police involved depicted oh-so-modestly through that unassuming, down-to-earth Kiwi attitude indicative of the rural South.
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