Martin Bryant killed 35 and wounded 23 people in Port Arthur in 1996.
Martin Bryant killed 35 and wounded 23 people in Port Arthur in 1996.

Controversy surrounds Martin Bryant film

A movie examining the events leading up to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre will debut in cinemas in 2021 - but has already been met with a mixed response on social media.

In a media release that avoids mentioning either the massacre or killer Martin Bryant by name, streaming service Stan has announced that the film, NITRAM (Martin spelled backwards), "looks at the events leading up to one of the darkest chapters in Australian history in an attempt to understand why and how this atrocity occurred".

The scripted feature comes from director Justin Kurzel and writer Shaun Grant, the acclaimed team behind True History Of The Kelly Gang and Snowtown.

American actor Caleb Landry Jones (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) will play the killer, who went on a gun rampage in and around Tasmania's Port Arthur historical site in April 1996, leaving 35 people dead and 23 wounded.

Caleb Landry Jones, 30, in a scene from the film.
Caleb Landry Jones, 30, in a scene from the film.

Next year marks the 25th anniversary of the attack, which remains the worst massacre in modern Australia committed by a single person.

Judy Davis (The Dressmaker), Essie Davis (True History Of The Kelly Gang) and Anthony LaPaglia (Lantana) have also signed on to appear in the film, which is currently in production in Geelong, Victoria.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that filming is taking place in Victoria due to fears the subject matter "would still prove too sensitive" to be made in Tasmania.

SMH reports the film will not depict the shooting spree, and will also not refer to the killer by name.

But news of the film was met with a mixed response on social media today:

 

 

 

 

"Stan is pleased to again collaborate with Justin Kurzel and Shaun Grant and we have complete faith in the NITRAM team's creative vision and ability to handle the film's subject matter with sensitivity and respect," Stan chief content officer Nick Forward said in a statement.

The front page of the Herald Sun as news broke, and before the final death toll.
The front page of the Herald Sun as news broke, and before the final death toll.

RELATED: Port Arthur massacre survivors share unheard stories

NITRAM will premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival next year, before becoming available on Stan.

The massacre horrified people around the world, and led to major changes in Australia's gun laws. Bryant was sentenced to 35 life sentences without parole and remains in prison.

 

Originally published as Controversy surrounds Martin Bryant film

Port Arthur killer Martin Bryant.
Port Arthur killer Martin Bryant.


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