The Cost is directed by Matthew Holmes (The Legend of Ben Hall), and written by Matthew Holmes and Gregory Moss. Rated MA15 plus, it has a run time of 108 mins and will have its special theatrical season from 5-18 October 2023. It's coming to home entertainment from 18 Oct where it's available on DVD, Blu-ray and to rent on Digital/SVOD Platforms - released through Madman Entertainment.
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Starring Jordan Fraser-Trumble, Damon Hunter, Kevin Dee, and Clayton Watson, the film is set over a gripping 48 hours. David (Jordan Fraser Trumble) and Aaron (Damon Hunter) are two ordinary men who abduct a newly released felon Troy (Kevin Dee), who committed a horrific crime years before. Intent on delivering their own brutal form of justice, David and Aaron come face to face with the man who destroyed their lives. But will they succeed in their violent quest for justice, or will the true cost of vengeance prove too high?
Sentenced to 32 years but let out after only 10, the rapist and murderer of Stephanie Baker (Nicole Pastor), Troy is about to get his just desserts served up to him by her still grieving husband David and brother Aaron. Years in the planning, and driven by anger and revenge, the boys buy their necessary tools of justice from the hardware stores, and head out for a weekend of camping deep into the Australian bush - but not before abducting Troy who is at first clueless as to why he's being attacked and kidnapped.
This Australian thriller reminds you of how differently we tell a story; permeated with the gritty reality of seeking vengeance, with none of the Hollywood hype and melodrama. The director serves up how revenge looks on a platter and asks you to define your moral compass. That there is a darkness in all of us that could easily tip over, mixed with the right ingredients and how we can very easily and quickly become the people we are pointing the finger at. You're given a complex smorgasbord of withheld dark thoughts, years of festering, emotional responses to the reality, and working out whether or not you can live with the consequences of the decisions you make. It's also touches on the story of the felon who pleads and argues for his life, and talks about having being punished for his crimes more times over in prison, trying to get his captors onboard as to why he's such a shite. It's certainly thought-provoking, and extracting revenge is not going to be an easy task.
David is the first to come to the realisation he may not be able to live with the consequences, and if he goes through with it, will he be any different to the felon? Aaron is set on automatic and can't seem to pull back because it was because of David's bitterness and sorrow over the years that he entertained the thought of helping him by being a part of extracting justice for Stephanie. If David pulls out, where does that leave him? He's gone this far, what next? Keep going as planned? Just let the felon go? And if so, his life would be down the toilet when the felon talks and they're arrested. All this to contend with, when in the first place it was David who roped him into this emotional journey. What next?!
There's certainly a lot to love about this film. Not only are the performances brilliant, but the story is engaging and holds its audience all the way through for the duration of the film. It explores what might happen if thoughts of vengeance went beyond just being thoughts, and takes you on its journey, as it explores the dark side of human nature and its turning point. It also looks at violence against women from the men's point of view and how it affects them as well. There are a few naturally integrated suspenseful scenes that are nail-bitingly good when the effects of an injected substance doesn't last as long as it ought to.
Jordan Fraser Trumble goes above and beyond emotionally, every feeling clearly marked and nuanced perfectly, he is the emotional arc of the story. Character-driven, this film relies on the perfect performance of its stars, and they don't let the film down. Kevin Dee as Troy the felon is also exceptional as part of the triangle of characters that are all connected to the dead Stephanie, whose presence is felt throughout the film in flashbacks. The cinematography of the Australian bush and all the evil it held within was beautifully shot, and the score supported the film and at times led it with its perfectly stunning blend of tension, dread and raw emotion that elevates the visuals to a whole new level. Definitely one to see.