COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 37min
STARRING: Shane Jacobson, Clayton Jacobson
Oh, brother! Shane (left) and Clayton Jacobson
They might not look it, being burly and impassive, but brothers Terry and Jeff (actual brothers Shane and Clayton Jacobson, who also directs) are desperate men. When they turn up at their rural childhood home in the pre-dawn chill, it’s with a contingency plan at once meticulously detailed and utterly unthinkable: with their mother (Lynette Curran) dying of cancer, the brothers have elected to kill their stepfather (Kim Gyngell) and frame his death as a suicide in order to prevent him from inheriting the home in which they’re now awaiting his arrival.
As the brains—such as they are—of the outfit, older brother Jeff has mapped out a day about which Terry has understandable reservations. “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” Jeff righteously points out, invoking their late father as he likes to do. Terry is less convinced and with good reason: the more they reveal themselves in the nimble back and forths of Jaime Browne’s mordant screenplay, the more impossible the execution of their foolhardy agenda begins to look.
The situation is patently absurd, but beware any Kenny preconceptions. Although that 2006 film, too, was directed by Clayton Jacobson (who, with neat symmetry, played Kenny’s brother), this take on family is a violent shift for Australia’s favourite tradie. That said, being brothers has served the Jacobsons well once again. Not only do they look alike but they bounce off each other with a familial ease of reference that for Terry and Jeff runs a descending gamut from fusspot-funny to evermore uncomfortable, then finally, to horrifically confronting.