The Bet

Year: 2007
Production Co: Gerrycan Films
Director: Mark Lee
Producer: Caroline Gerard
Writer: Caroline Gerard
Cast: Matthew Newton, Aden Young, Sybilla Budd
Director Mark Lee describes it as an archetype with the heir apparent, the adventurer, the ladies in waiting and the court fool. Rising stockbroker Will (Newton) makes a bet with suave but nasty banker Angus (Young). Both will put up $100,000 and the one who makes the most money for his firm in 90 days will take the lot.

The Bet starts off slow, clichéd and slightly amateurish, looking every bit the cheap copy of Wall Street you expect. Stick with it. It gets more compelling and engaging as time passes until a shocking climatic act that will really haunt you.

You expect a plain revenge story with a nasty villain, heroic protagonist and a beautiful lady to keep the hero on the straight and narrow. Almost every element is there, the whole thing set up to be very expected but ending up anything but.

There are still faults. The relationship between Will and Angus is never explored enough and you never really know how they feel about or know each other. It would also help to know all the jargon and parlance of high finance, but even when you don't know what's going on in a detailed sense, Lee and his actors convey the building sense of tension brilliantly.

Despite needing stronger dramatic markers to tell you what was going on, there's an escalating sense of desperation and despair and some great performances to carry it, particular the always-wonderful Aden Young, who doesn't get nearly enough screen time as the smooth, lizard-like Angus.

Let's hope it's the first of many by the new and improved Mark Lee.

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