Gold (2022) Review: Zac Efron Braves The Elements In This Satisfying Survivalist Film

If you found a million-dollar nugget of Gold buried deep in the ground, who would you trust with it?

Zac Efron, who is known for sexy roles that involve removing his shirt travels to Australia for a much different role in Anthony Hayes’s “Gold”.

“Gold” takes place in a dystopian future with a social and environmental breakdown (so basically current day Australia). In the film, two men Virgil (Zac Efron) and Keith (Anthony Hayes) discover an enormous nugget of gold buried in the middle of an inhospitable desert. 

After failing to extract the Gold using their truck, Keith agrees to leave to find excavation equipment, while Virgil stays to guard the claim. Virgil is then left on his own for days in the middle of the dangerous desert, struggling to survive with diminishing supplies while enduring dust storms. As Virgil fights to stay alive, he quickly discovers that there is a stranger lurking in the desert. Virgil must fight to live and fight to protect his keep. 

Zac Efron makes a statement in one of his physically grueling roles to date. Efron goes to war with every aspect of the brutal desert. The extreme heat, dehydration, hunger,  pack of wild dogs, dust storms, and of course, the human element. The film may have the presence of a Mad Max film but it was actually filmed in Australia’s Red Centre with some added filters that highlight the direness of the elements. 

Wentworth’s Susie Porter appears in the film as the stranger and while her role is little more than a cameo, she plays a vital role in Efron’s battle with trust and sanity. Cinematographer Ross Giardina and composer Antony Partos pick up the slack where Efron’s performance falls short. 

Gold is a brutal exercise in trust and resources. A minimalist survival thriller that makes for a great experience on both the big and small screens. 

3.5/5

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