a film by Carl Medland
2011 | 92 mins | UK
›› The Cost of Love
the life and times of a hustler - with a narrative.
The Cost of Love by Carl Medland In a striking medley of sexual role-play and relationship reality, writer and director Carl Medland has gone out of his way to chart the life and times of a hustler - with a narrative.

Not that Dale is your typical male escort. Rather this is a man who from the onset proudly proclaims that he likes sex - lots of it and in all of its varied, think S&M forms. Upfront with both his sexuality and his hustling ways to friends and family, Dale's hard-as-nails exterior is but a mask to hide his longing for his straight best friend Raj. Only when Raj asks Dale to be his best man at a hastily arranged wedding, can this man of many a sexual guise, suppress his true feelings from the loving couple?

The Cost of Love by Carl Medland Turning the "falling in love with your straight best friend" theme of its head, here we find Medland delight in teasing his audience from opening reel to close of play. For nothing is what it appears to be at first glance, a cinematic device that Medland joyfully employs throughout, along the way mixing Dale's willingness to fulfil for the right price, his client's sexual fantasies, with the romantic hard knocks of life.

Yet in a work dominated by Christopher Kelham's first person narrative, it is the imaginative pic 'n' mix of diverse characters that give the film its quirky and frequently surreal colour, faces that include Robert Gray as a man only too happy to come clean with his sexual desires, Brazilian hunk Israel (Seeing Heaven) Cassol as a budding, in more ways than one, actor and on sparkling form, Michael Joyce as Dale's confidant Sean. Known to many on the London gay scene as flamboyant drag artiste Estee Applauder, his words cut to the core, as bitter exchanges between Sean's alcoholic mother Christine mix with many a moving comment on life and love. Tragically killed in a car accident just months after close of production, this feature marks not only a remembrance of his vibrant self, but equally a poignant, if somewhat dark look at the price of happiness, as backed by the melodic sounds of Cherrystone.

Not afraid to shy away from depicting the reality of homophobia, hate crimes and sexual hygiene, let alone taking pride in its location, beautifully showcasing the cosmopolitan community of Greenwich, London, this corkscrew of twists and turns makes for a refreshingly wry, if often reflective look at the highs and lows of relationships. That Medland has added a series of heartfelt confessions and here cue a set of touching words from Raj's fiancée, together with a man with a secret past, places the story first and the sex, well surprisingly coy. Add in some nice turns from the supporting players and the result is a comically upbeat and heart-warming experience. Indeed, as hustling stories go, this is one the most unpredictably entertaining works Iíve seen for ages. Need more be said?

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - strictly from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 3+ stars. 

›› Available to buy from Amazon.com.

›› Available to buy from Amazon.co.uk.
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue: 17.October.2011 - UK.
available on DVD as part of the Breaking Glass Pictures catalogue: 27.September.2011 - US.
starring: Christopher Kelham / Dale, Michael Joyce / Sean, Valmike Rampersad / Raj, Mandeesh Gill / Veena,
Frank Jakeman / Richard, Caroline Burns Cooke / Christine, Neil Kelly / Mike, Jan Hirst / Marian,
Joanna Croll / Nurse, Israel Cassol / escort Ricardo, Gary Fakes / escort School Boy, Robert
Gray / client Pete, Arin Alldridge / client Andy, Darren Petrucci / client Dominic,
John Copper / client Nappy Man and The Duchess (Landlady) and
Greenwich's fabulous Drag Artistes as themselves.
cameo appearance by Carl Medland as Dale's Dad.
official website:
www.thecostoflove.com
"In Loving Memory of Michael Joyce: 1969 - 2009. Long may you shine."
Copyright 2011 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #428
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