Title – Gold (2022)
Director – Anthony Hayes (Ten Empty)
Cast – Zac Efron, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter
Plot – Set in the not too distant dystopian future, a man (Efron) must push himself to the limits protecting gold he and another man (Hayes) have found in the harsh and unforgiving desert.
“For everything. He’ll do anything”
Review by Eddie on 17/02/2022
If you’ve ever wanted to see Zac Efron punished for his contributions towards the High School Musical series, Gold is something of a must-see.
Being pushed to his limit in the Australian outback in Anthony Hayes feature (even the films flies would’ve been enough to handle without anything else), Efron is up against the elements in ways similar to Leonardo DiCaprio was in the Oscar winning western The Revenant but despite the leading mans commitment to his role that came about when Efron based himself in Australia during the initial Covid-19 pandemic, Gold struggles to be the new must-watch survival thriller that it may’ve been had the stars aligned.
Set in a future that could be set quite soon from now, in an unnamed country and place, Gold see’s Efron’s nameless Man One travelling across dangerous and barren lands with Hayes’s Man Two, as the two rugged souls come across a significant gold discovery with Man One forced to stay behind in the unforgiving elements as Man Two sets about securing equipment to extract their discovery and strike it rich.
With barely an ounce of character backstory or motivational insight into what has drawn these two souls into their current set of circumstances, Gold relies heavily on giving its audience something to engage with by set-ups, set-pieces and how much torture Efron’s character can endure (has this man not ever thought of covering up in the blistering sun?) but with an increasingly unlikely plot and a repetitive nature, Gold only grips us early as it looses its grasp as the runtime wears on.
Well filmed by Hayes and his crew and potentially holding a story that could’ve become a new Australian classic, it’s unfortunate Gold can’t strike it big by giving us something worth the gruelling nature of its repetition and while the jury is still out in many corners of the world around Efron’s ability to carry as a leading man, you get a strong feeling that had Efron’s character been more established in history and more fully formed, there’s every possibility that his central role here could’ve provided evidence once and for all that this one time teen heartthrob is in fact a very talented actor.
When the dust settles (of which there is an abundance of here), Gold is an impressively made Australian film but one that finishes its runtime as a disappointingly forgettable one, with a unique set-up and use of a noteworthy lead, there’s no doubt this often arduous and emotionally cold affair could’ve and likely should’ve been more of significant event.
Final Say –
Not at all fun and devoid of a heart and soul, Gold is well made and provides Efron with a solid chance to prove his acting mettle but there’s too many weak components here to suggest that Hayes’s film has struck its titular component.
2 1/2 sun blisters out of 5