It was last year as Florida stunt team Genesis Action Stunts founder Anthony Giovanni Elias began emerging a little more prominently into the independent film scene that I caught wind of his participation in a thrilling new shortfilm from Emmy award-winning editor, writer, producer and director Gerald Godbout III. Featuring up-and-coming actor and producer Dennis Jusino and actor Jimmy Dempster, The Trade had its initial summer premiere on July 26 this year at Premiere Cinema 14 in Orlando, Florida, soon to earn the praises of several critics from different media sites thereafter. I don’t live in Florida, although I did have the good fortune of being allowed a screening link of my own from the director. And considering he’s gone out of his way to step from his horror cinema roots to explore the action genre in some fashion, I couldn’t reject getting on board.
The Trade sees Jusino and Dempster as cousins Anthony and Frank, two ambitious hustlers who have worked their way up from a life of petty crime to leading high-end services in the sex industry. Their success is so far matched by their collective willingness to abide by a set of rules that oblige them to never fall in love with their employees, no killing, and always putting family first no matter what – with particular, specific emphasis on the latter. Unfortunately, personal ambitions take over when Anthony falls in love with Carolina (Britanny Santos), and Frank goes over Anthony’s head and starts doing business with the local Russian mob. Soon, tragedy strikes, leaving loyalties uncertain and forcing Anthony and Frank to settle their interfamililal differences once and for all.
This particular project was my first introduction to Godbout III as a director. While working with a low budget does have its hinderances, The Trade gives the director a chance to tell an ample story that allows him to push the envelope a bit between just a few scenes of violence, as well as nudity considering the story. We are presented with a moment-to-moment formula of storytelling that takes off pretty fast, but remains consistent without losing the viewer.
Some roles were smaller than others, including Santos‘s role as Anthony’s love interest, Carolina, whose scenes mostly involve no dialogue, so we don’t really get to know her very well. Beyond that, the shortfilm is well acted, the action is good, and we are given a story that doesn’t really try too hard to be anything else other than what it is – a dark, gritty crime drama set in a notably evil world where there is greed, lust, danger, tragedy, and no real heroes…or apologies for that matter.
I enjoyed what Godbout III and his team have done for this, his latest contribution to the action genre. Jusino and Dempster are really good actors who have proven they can carry themselves in an action sequence, thanks in part to Elias’s coordination and training, and I look forward to what comes next from Godbout III in the years to come.
Last, but not least, I offer my dear thanks to Godbout III for outlining my name in the list of Special Thanks in the end credits. I mark it as another rare achievement in my life as part of a community I remain physically far from, but close in proximity thanks to social networking while I remain here at Film Combat Syndicate. By all means, keep me busy and keep on creating!
The Trade is still making the festival rounds before finally being allowed open to the public. In the meantime, watch the NSFW trailer and stay tuned for more info.