Nitram is by no means an easy watch, but I do implore readers to go into the movie knowing very little about it. The movie is outstanding in its own right, but to have limited knowledge of the Australian drama makes it more powerful. I’ll do my best to provide as much interest as possible with this review, but it’s no spoiler to mention Nitram starts as a character study and ends in a real-life tragedy that changed Australia’s gun laws.
The title character (Caleb Landry Jones, giving one of the best performances of the year) is a misfit who exhibits such unpredictable behaviour, his community (including his family) treat him as an outcast. People either think they’re protecting Nitram, or protecting those around him. He receives more compassion from Dad (Anthony LaPaglia) than Mum (Judy Davis) but, even so, Dad embraces the same mantra when dealing with Nitram – out of sight, out of mind. Nitram’s unsupervised boredom creates wild ideas, which leads him to meeting another recluse named Helen (Essie Davis). While much older, Helen confides in Nitram and vice versa. However, after a heartbreaking accident (one that made me jolt and cover my face), Nitram spirals out of control as he becomes more aware of how lonely he is.
While director Justin Kurzel (Assassin’s Creed) is also compassionate towards the film’s lead character, he also recognizes Nitram’s dangerous qualities and how those who ignore him enable him more. However, aside from the finale, Kurzel doesn’t place blame on anyone. He brilliantly finds an accessible perspective for audiences to realize the serious effect of varying actions. It’s so honest that it’s, appropriately, almost too much to bear.
After the climactic incident halfway through Nitram, the movie earns an increasing degree of dread that finally comes to a boil in its final scene. It’s a controversial comparison but just like 2019’s Joker, once the credits roll, audiences walk away with a heightened awareness of those who are deeply troubled. As someone who was floored by Joker, Nitram is just as good.
Do You Tweet? Follow These Tweeple:
Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie