Somewhere in the near future, in a place that looks like Australia (or maybe not), the main character arrives. Regardless of the location’s geography, it’s definitely a barren landscape, with little to be seen in the distance other than heat waves bouncing off the surface of the rocks and endless sand.
A person who has come to this desert has nothing of value with him except a pamphlet promising good pay. We see a harsh, uncompromising world that raises a lot of questions. The viewer is presented with the edge of tomorrow, where everything screams about an ecological catastrophe. The future in the film is clearly not far off, but definitely bleak and hopeless.
A bleak picture of the future
The film is about two traveling vagrants who stumble upon the largest gold nugget ever found. They develop a plan to protect and excavate their wealth. One of them is sent for the necessary equipment to extract gold from the earth. Another person – Virgil (played by Zac Efron) remains in place and guards the prey.
The story will show what Virgil is ready to go through for the sake of prey: endure extreme weather conditions, lose his mind, kill … everyone will see something different in this film. This project is like a mirror reflecting different sides of a person when viewed from different angles. And yes, the film opened up a new facet of Zac Efron’s talent.
So, when viewing, the director invites the viewer to explore the depth of the dark side of a person.
What is the value of the largest piece of gold in the world if you are in the middle of the desert, dehydrated, sunburned and know you will not survive? What would you do? The character of Zac Efron is absolutely atypical for an actor and this is the first thing that catches your eye: he looks beaten, terribly battered by life and somehow disfigured, like other characters in the film.
Virgil guards the gold. But suddenly everything goes wrong. As his supply of water and food dwindles, his sanity and decision-making ability are tested. And when a lonely stranger appears on the horizon, the desire to protect gold moves to a new level, which, unfortunately, is dangerous for her.
“The Thirst for Gold” is a gloomy, slowly flaring fire, trying to keep the viewer’s attention thanks to Efron’s restrained game. The character behaves like someone who is trying to hide something inside. Although many performers would stick to the strategy of creating screaming chaos around them (but Zac Efron plays differently). The actor decided that his screaming dead eyes would speak loudly about the character.
We understand how the film will end long before the end credits: towards the end of the story there is a clear shot when Efron’s character decides that protecting the gold is more important than his life. There are not many scenes in the film that would explain the history of the characters and how they got to such an emotional state.
This is a nihilistic view of humanity. This whole picture, the behavior of the character, the debilitating small details are something more than just a dusty fight in the desert. The way Efron’s character conveys his fears and despair right up to the very end is more the merit of the actor himself than the director.
Explanation of the ending of the movie “Gold” (2022)
In fact, it makes no sense to talk about the ending of the picture for a long time, since it is quite logical. The protagonist, played by Zac Efron, aka First Man, suffering from dehydration, tormented by hallucinations, finally learns that his partner, who left him to guard the gold (Second Man), is already nearby. However, First Man does not have time to wait for help – he is killed by a pack of wild dogs. In the finale, we learn that the Second Man was not going to save his partner, but simply waited for his death in order to take all the gold for himself. He drives up to the gold with an excavator, but, getting out of the car, falls to the ground, killed by an arrow – the sister of the girl killed earlier by the First Man thus avenged her relative.
The Thirst for Gold is pure genre cinema, which, of course, has metaphorical layers, but it is hardly capable of plunging into the depths of reflection. A kind of meaningless canvas, which you can’t seem to find fault with, but it’s almost impossible to fall in love with the silent emptiness.