Gold (2022)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

, 2022. , , , , . Screenplay by Anthony Hayes, . Cinematography by . Produced by Anthony Hayes, , . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

The theme of human greed is laid bare physically and, it should be said, a bit too bare thematically in this Mad Max for the Covid era. In an unspecified near future where the world has gone to pot and we’re not sure why, shows up in the middle of a barren landscape looking for a ride that he has arranged to take him to a “compound” where a new career opportunity awaits him. The driver he hires (Anthony Hayes, who also co-wrote and directed) thinks nothing of adding weakly-justified extra fees to the travel fare as they cross a treacherous desert towards their goal, and their relationship is going nowhere near friendship until a curious twist of fate dangles the possibility of a profitable partnership.

When their vehicle breaks down and Hayes has to do some repair work on it, Efron kicks a few stones around and discovers something remarkable: a deposit of gold in the ground that, should they take it with them, could provide them endless riches. They don’t have the equipment to extract the precious metals from the ground, so they agree that Efron will stay behind and guard their find while Hayes goes off to get an excavator that he’ll bring back. The unforgiving sun, meagre resources and increasingly hungry desert creatures circling him are a lot to deal with, however, and as the days of Hayes’ extended absence stretch out before him, Efron becomes more physically debilitated and mentally isolated. His fixation on the point in the ground from where his glorious future could emerge turns into an obsession that becomes dangerous when a cagey stranger () shows up asking too many questions.

Expertly photographed and often terrifying in its gruesomeness, this film is marred by a rather uncomplicated treatment of a painfully uncomplicated premise; without any irony to its treatise on obsessive ambition (they want to get rich in a world where there’s nothing left to buy, get it?) it’s easy to see the big twist at the end coming and, given that it takes place in a world that seems to have ended, it’s hard to really understand why we would be all that invested in seeing our handsome hero through this ordeal in the first place.

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