2006 - New Zealand - 103 minutes
Director and Writer - Robert Sarkies based upon the book by Bill O'Brien
My Rating - 5 of 5 Stars
There are hundreds of movies out their about mass murderers in a range of pretty much unwatchable to excellent, edge-of-your-seat viewing. A large majority of these films are fiction and can be dismissed as just blood and gore thrillers no matter their quality. There are a few that are based upon terrorist acts that for most of the viewers, fortunately, can be dismissed as something so foreign to their everyday lives that a comfortable distance with reality can be kept. Out of the Blue doesn't fit into either of these categories, and that is what makes it even more horrifying.
Probably in every neighborhood in the world, there lives the loner - the "You kids stay out of my yard," grouch who is probably more of an object of humor or exasperation rather than fear. Out of the Blue is the true story of one such man who lived in a small seaside village in New Zealand in 1990.
David Gray lived in a small shack in Aramoana, New Zealand. He was a social outcast who often had disagreements with his closest neighbor over petty things - things that most neighbors would settle easily. As Gray lived his lonely life, he was slowly amassing a large collection of guns and supposed wrongs perpetrated against him by his neighbors and government officials. On November 13, 1990, one of his neighbor's daughters crossed into Gray's yard, and that set off a horrifying series of events which ended the next day with thirteen residents - men, women, and children - murdered.
It is a bit ironic that earlier in the day before watching this DVD, I was discussing with a friend her nephew who suffers from mental instability. This man in his forties whom I have known since his late teens has manifested imaginary wrongs, many of which happened more than twenty years ago. He is unable to release himself from these feelings because he truly believes them even though most of them never really happened in the way that he has perceived them. Perhaps knowing this man has caused Out of the Blue to have a greater effect upon me, but I am willing to guess that most of the readers of this review know someone like my friend's nephew who teeters on the edge of stability daily. It certainly brought the film very close to home for me.
The acting in Out of the Blue is excellent. Each and every actor on screen makes you believe in the character, but I think the thing that puts the film in the five star category is its brilliant direction. Robert Sarkies skillfully draws you into Aramoana and makes you a resident of the village way before the first shot is fired. He also helps you to understand David Gray as much as he can be understood. The viewer hates David Gray for what he did but still can summon up a bit of compassion for this sad, sad outsider.
Out of the Blue is a great little film that should be seen by any thinking adult - especially any adult who knows a sad outsider.
June 16, 2008