Thursday 5 October 2023

The Current Cinema and on Blu-ray - Some thoughts on a new Australian film THE COST (Matthew Holmes, 2022)

I’m not at all sure about The Cost  a new Australian film by Matthew Holmes which is having very limited screenings around Australia over the next couple of weeks.

It was made in 2022 and is just getting a release now. I wonder whether the exhibitors and others who might show it, like the local festivals, might have shied off it because it features a fairly vile kidnapping and rape and then an extended depiction of elaborate vigilantism as two men, both related to the rape victim, take the law into their own hands and seek to punish the offender after he has been released from jail. His shortened sentence was not enough for them. 

We've been here before though in far less genteel terms. Plenty will recall Straw Dogs. Less will remember that video store VHS favourite  I Spit On Your Grave, the gold standard in personal revenge stories of which I have some personal memories I wont share here


So there’s elaborate planning to take revenge and, inevitably, things that go wrong  and there’s a bit of wry levity, easing off the tension and unintended things that intervene, like the nearby neighbour who comes to do some repairs. And of course (spoiler alert) one of the revenge takers gets cold feet.


What doesn’t happen is any generating of sympathy for the rapist. While he descends into frequent blubbering and self-pity the sympathy shifts slightly to the husband of the slain woman who starts to think they are taking things too far when it actually comes to inflicting some violence to be followed by a killing.


None of this works out well and there’s a grim open ending which allows you to speculate on whether the two assailants should or shouldn’t get away with it. 

I think latter day sensibilities may have moved well past where this film is at.

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