Justin Kurzel’s profoundly unsettling Nitram, the biopic of Port Arthur Massacre gunman Martin Bryant, arrives on Stan today.

Nitram unfolds the events leading up to one of the deadliest mass killings in Australian history, in an attempt to diagnose why the tragedy occurred. Director Justin Kurzel turns the lens on Martin Bryant, the lone gunman who murdered 35 people and wounded 23 more in the small Tasmanian town.

Nitram, written by Kurzel’s Snowtown and True History of the Kelly Gang collaborator Shaun Grant, screened in Official Selection for Competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival in July. It was the first Australian film to compete for the Palme D’Or in a decade. Caleb Landry Jones, who deftly portrayed Martin Bryant, scooped up a Best Actor honour at the festival for his performance.

Nitram was awarded the CinefestOZ Film Prize in August, and was selected to compete at the BFI London Film Festival. The film was also honoured with 15 nominations at the 2021 AACTA Awards, including Best Film, Best Direction for director Justin Kurzel, Best Lead Actor for Caleb Landry Jones, Best Lead Actress for Judy Davis, Best Supporting Actor for Anthony LaPaglia, Best Supporting Actress for Essie Davis and Best Original Screenplay for writer Shaun Grant.

When it became public, last November, that Kurzel and Grant were making a film about the Port Arthur Massacre, critics and politicians condemned the project, and there were multiple calls from the families of victims for it to be abandoned.

Nitram is available to stream on Stan. For more on this topic, follow our Film & TV Observer.

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