Kate (Gillian Alexy) is married to Ash (Luke Ford), who works daily as an investment banker. The two have a daughter, Sarah (Tea Heathcote-Marks). Their marriage is sailing on rough waters since Ash confessed a dark secret. Since Ash’s confession, Kate has struggled to concentrate on daily routines and lacks joy in her married life. With everything going on, the family feels they need a vacation, and they decide to have quality time at a house in a bush with hopes of rest, peace and no disturbance.
Unfortunately for Kate, her holiday time with the family is cut short. While driving to the holiday spot, Ash is wrapping up a massive deal involving a lot of money. One evening while staying at the holiday home, Kate and her family are invaded by a team of skilled mercenaries. The invasion has Ash kidnapped, and Kate and her daughter Sarah are tied up as hostages. While the mercenaries think everything is going to plan, Kate manages to escape. Now, Kate decides to take matters into her own hands, using her wits and skills as a highly trained archer to save her family before time runs out.
Avarice is best described as a thriller with little moments of action. One thing I love about this Australian film is the concept and the premise. The idea of a female lead taking down baddies with a bow and arrow has me pumped and ready for entertainment. However, Avarice misses its target on multiple levels and the film only just lands on the target board. For praises, I will state I enjoyed the lead actress Gillian Alexy as Kate, who is required to rise and take charge to save her family and marriage. But performances are generally hit-and-miss. Granted, some performances on screen are genuinely trying, and I couldn’t help but have some compassion for the actors. However, some side performances left me baffled and frowning as they felt weaker and more off-putting. They were even, on occasion, laughable. The soundtrack is somewhat bland and forgettable on every level.
If you’re expecting a high-octane thrill ride, Avarice isn’t that film either. It’s slow, and it’s drawn out with many moments and scenes that feel predictable and familiar. Bad guys are not overly bright here; they talk too much, flex their muscles, drink coffee, make non-stop threats and fail to deliver something that feels menacing. Discussions among characters almost match a TV soap drama, especially lines of dialogue between the leads, Kate and Ash. The storyline itself takes a long time to get underway, and the film reaches the one-hour mark before we finally see Kate equipping herself with a bow and arrow and prepping herself to make a stand. Everything before this is a challenge to get through.
Overall, a highly skilled archer taking down bad guys has my attention, but Avarice misses its target on multiple levels. I love the ideas here and the concept, which should be thrilling, gripping, and exciting. Instead, it feels drawn out and slow, and the thrills are minor. Performances for the vast majority are hit-and-miss. Some actors feel like they’re generally trying, while others will have audiences baffled and cringing in their seats. The film is packed with a bland and forgettable soundtrack and a group of familiar and typical baddies. While it’s far from a bullseye, the arrow still manages to hit on the board to deliver a slight touch of thrills. Avarice (2022) is Available in Australian Cinemas from December 8th.
26th November 2022
Written by Peter Walkden
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Our opinion on this feature has also been submitted to Rotton Tomatoes (Audiences Score*).