Set in the not-too-distant future, a drifter known only as Man One (Zac Efron), finds himself traveling through the desert with another man, known only as Man Two (Anthony Hayes), before stumbling across a golden nugget that could change both of their lives forever. The duo hatch a plan for one of them to protect the nugget while the other goes and collects the equipment needed to excavate the loot – can the protector endure the harsh conditions the desert presents? Gold certainly starts and ends well but suffers a little with a slow and uneventful midpoint. It’s worth noting that Gold is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Director: Anthony Hayes
Writers: Anthony Hayes, Polly Smyth
Starring: Zac Efron, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter
Originally released in January of 2022, Gold, not to be confused with the Matthew McConaughey led Gold (2016), manages to successfully explore the notions of greed, loneliness, and sheer desperation with a rather modest runtime of just over ninety minutes and a limited budget of around six million dollars.
In terms of the story, the filmmakers managed to keep it rather simple and straightforward, basing it primarily around survival, with one or two minor twists and turns injected along the way. In reality, it’s probably a film that could have been told over a one-hour period of time and as previously mentioned, the movie did seem to stagnate somewhat during the midpoint of the flick, with the filmmakers struggling when it came to providing enough engaging content.
On a visual level, the film was spectacular, with the Outback in South Australia, providing the filmmakers with the perfect backdrop to translate their deep sense of desperation and isolation onto screen. The makeup and special effects team also deserve credit, managing to ultimately turn the main character into a walking, talking zombie by the latter stages of the picture – something you’d have to see to believe.
Rather interestingly and somewhat uniquely, Gold was written and directed by Anthony Hayes, who also starred in the film as Man Two, warranting a fair chunk of screentime throughout the ninety-seven minute runtime, while Zac Efron adopted the role of Man One, the primary figure within the flick. Despite the film lacking much dialogue, both did well in their roles and the film also saw support come from Susie Porter, who played The Stranger.
Lastly, one thing I did pick up on was the fact that I felt that watching Gold on the big screen would have been a vastly superior cinematic experience than that of watching it on a streaming service on a television or smartphone, but such is the world at the moment. Overall, however, it was a relatively enjoyable survival flick that is more than worth a watch one evening. As previously mentioned, Gold is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
“I was supposed to meet a man here, to take me to the compound.”
Man One – Gold