Out Of The Blue can be summed up in one word: Dark. The movie very accurately portrays the events of the Aramoana Massacre where on November 13 1990 David Gray embarked on a shooting rampage, killing 13 people.
The movie’s introduction is very long. It takes probably the best part of 30 minutes to set up the theme and the characters. It introduces the sleepy New Zealand town of Aramoana, the lifestyle of the residents and some of the main characters. This is probably good for international audiences but for local kiwis it means the start is quite boring.
When the shooting begins the movie turns and changes its approach quite a bit. Prior to the first shooting it was following about five different people, when the first character is shot it immediately just focuses on three, the sound and the film style also change to suit the change in theme.
Sound, or lack of it plays a big part in setting the mood of the movie. There is very little dialogue. The whole long introduction has minimal dialogue and the only bit where the dialogue flows is in the few minutes leading up to the first shot being fired. After that it is interesting to note that the gunman, David Gray, does not speak again.
Director, Robert Sarkies, does his best to take the viewer into the mind of David Gray. From the dim lighting surrounding the character, the way that you hardly see the killers face, the bank security camera footage and the way that you see the character flash back to events in his past help viewers to really go deep into the movie.
The great thing about Out Of The Blue is that it is a classic New Zealand film. It does not use fancy Hollywood ideas. The location is always inside Aramoana, it does not look at the police command centre or show people watching the events unfolding on the TV news or anything like that. The entire focus of the movie is around David Gray and this makes for a very successful film. The only Hollywood addition that you have to laugh at is the product placement for Marmite sitting on the dining table at the start.
Out Of The Blue is certainly not for the faint hearted. It does not have a happy ending and the entire movie has very few funny or happy parts. It is a fantastic portrayal of one of New Zealand’s darkest days. I would rate it better than World’s Fastest Indian, but Whale Rider still holds on trophy of being New Zealand’s best film.