Treasure hunting buddies Moses (David Wysocki) and Fink (David Wall) on a lifelong search for a legendary ghost ship along the Mexican border, stumble into the crosshairs of a drug kingpin, his enigmatic assassin, a band of lost children and a huge pile of dirty cash. The pair have their friendship tested as they must choose between their dreams of fortune or doing the right thing.
One of the hardest things to pinpoint with Gold Dust is who exactly it is for. The adventure narrative and lifelong buddy relationship between Moses and Fink would lend itself to a family-oriented movie. The former being an almost childlike grown-up who often pesters his friend, while the latter is the straight man with a somewhat immature lifegoal.
The chemistry is fun and often comedic and easily the best part of the movie. It’s just a shame when the focus is on the questionably accented drug baron and his mute enforcer, the tone becomes muddled. It’s hard to reconcile the quirky, well-worn adventure narrative with the exaggerated antagonists, who seem to have wandered out of a Joe Carnahan knock-off.
One of the most striking elements of Gold Dust is Egor Povolotskiy’s gorgeous photography. The desert locations look incredible and there’s a deft use of light and colour which is complimented by the tactile costumes and Beyond Thunderdome’esque garb of the orphan children. Gold Dust makes use of classical music with Jessy Ribordy’s score often subtly placed to commendable effect.
Writer, director, producer and star, David Wall delivers a serviceable (if a little rote) movie that doesn’t quite gel at times. The tone is inconsistent, the performances vary from Wall and Wysocki’s great chemistry and rapport to characters/ performances that don’t quite fit.
The younger actors are all solid, but the audience would have benefitted from more in-depth characterisation. There’s a decent family adventure in there somewhere but it’s just not teased out enough either comedically or emotionally.
While I wasn’t particularly taken by Gold Dust, I’d be interested to see what Wall works on next. There’s the seed of a good movie here and I’m hopeful that this will come to fruition somewhere in the future.
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