Gold is one of those movies that an actor like Zac Efron would make. It’s a movie in which he wants to prove to the world that despite all the High School Musical movies and his role as a hunky lifeguard in Baywatch, he can act, damn it. Charlize Theron pretty much has been doing this for the last 20 years, which isn’t surprising because there is a Mad Max-George Miller vibe to the movie.
Set in a post-apoalyptic Australian desert wasteland, Efron plays someone only known as Man One who arrives by hoping a freight train in a desolate way station. He mets Man Two (Anthony Hayes), who is offering him a ride, at a charge, to location he is wanting to go. It’s a place where there’s supposed to be better conditions and lifestyle. So, they get into his truck to take off through the desert where wild feral dogs roam.
When they have car trouble due to Man One turning the AC in the car up too high while the other sleeps, he goes to urinate and discovers what looks like a huge chunk of gold buried in the ground. Both of them try to dig it out but it won’t budge as it’s too heavy to lift it out. Man Two talks about having to go get an excavator to complete the task and wants Man One to go. Yet, an argument breaks out over who should go and finally Man Two relents and says he will go get it.
The next day, Man Two leaves him with some provisions and some water but as the days pass, the water decreases. Man One faces the elements of nature as his skin begins to blister and burn from the excessive exposure to the sun. He’s also got to contend with wild dogs at night so he burns a fire to keep them away. Man Two has left him a satellite phone and calls saying it’s going to take a little longer.
Man One finds an small jet airplane that he is able to salvage parts and make a small hut to get out of the sun. But more time moves on. Then there is the appearance of a stranger (Susie Porter) who begins to ask too many questions, such as why he hasn’t ventured the five kilometers nearby to the watering hole. And eventually the elements get worse as Man Two calls and says it’s still taking longer.
Of course, if you’ve seen this type of movie, you know what to expect. Lack of water and massive exposure to the elements, Man One begins to hallucinate and lose his mind. Even at 97 minutes with credits, it’s too long to hold interests especially when you can suspect where everything is heading. Movies like this have become all but in the post Cast Away days with Robert Redford all alone on the Indian Ocean in All Is Lost or Mads Mikkelson in Artic. Yet those movies worked better.
It would’ve been more interesting if they had bothered to drop a few lines of dialogue about what happened and how things got this way. With the plane, it seems like what we’re witnessing is maybe 10-20 years since everything went bad. There’s a great set-up but the movie stalls once Man One is on his own. However, this is just a depressing movie that drags on. Hayes directed, co-wrote and co-produce the movie. Yet the movie might have benefitted better if it had been shorter and not as predictable.
What do you think? Please comment.