Release Date: 03/18/22
Studio: Falco Ink. / Screen Media
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"In the not too distant future, a drifter (Zac Efron) travelling through the desert discovers the largest gold nugget ever found. He must guard it from thieves amid harsh conditions and wild dogs while waiting for his partner to return."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Beginning with the text “Some time. Some place. Not far from now…”, suggesting that Anthony Hayes’ survival thriller is a dystopian-set effort, Gold embraces the hopelessness and vast nothingness of the Australian outback.
Whilst it’s safe to say Zac Efron fans will be drawn to Gold out of curiosity – the actor’s more rugged look I’m sure earning him plenty of points on the zaddy scale – audiences best be on guard that this isn’t pleasant viewing, nor that the actor’s aesthetic appearance will go untainted.
Not necessarily based in Australia (remember, it’s considered “Some place”), which also means Efron is spared having to emulate an Australian accent, traditionally one of the hardest vocalisations to master, Gold lays focus on a duo of men – simply credited as Man One (Efron) and Man Two (director Hayes pulling extra duties as a performer too) – as they uncover a serious chunk of gold in the deserted landscape they have, without much explanation, found themselves courting.
Awkward conversations ensue as to who will stay and who will go find the excavator, with Hayes’ script (co-written with Polly Smyth) planting suspicion and paranoia amongst his limited players’ psyches early on, laying the foundation for the eventual descent into madness they adhere to.
To call Gold a minimalistic production would be putting it lightly. And though the sparseness is intriguing and necessary for its narrative, it’s also such a cold-feeling film (ironic given the dryness of its setting) that it being so void of action runs the risk of it appearing gratingly thin. Efron is a smart enough actor to know he doesn’t need to do much to sell Hayes’ story, and his internalised emotion gives way for the intensity of the story, but it’s best you don’t enter Gold with the blinding expectation that’ll hook you in with set-pieces and dialogue.