Land Of Gold: Review
Land Of Gold: Review. By Rudie Obias
Being an outsider in America is not easy. You have one foot in American culture, while another is steeped in your family’s culture, language, and religion. It’s tough to tip-toe around social situations and just exist, but millions of people do it everyday with very little backlash or prejudice. However, it just takes one misunderstanding or racially-charged incident that will make you see America in a completely different light. The movie Land of Gold tackles what it means to be a first-generation immigrant in modern America.
Written and directed by Nardeep Khurmi (in his feature length debut), the movie follows Kiran (played by Khurmi himself), an Punjabi-American man dealing with supporting his parents Raveena (played by Riti Sachdeva) and Gurinder (played by the great Iqbal Theba), as well as awaiting the birth of his first child with his wife Preeti (played by Pallavi Sastry) in suburban California. He’s a truck driver by trade and, to his wife’s protest, takes a last-minute job to ship goods from Bakersfield to Boston.
While loading his truck at a local distro, a 10-year-old Mexican-American girl named Elena (played by Caroline Valencia) stows away in his truck to get a free ride to Boston to be reunited with her uncle. However, along the way, the unlikely pair learn about their lives, ambitions, and families, while trying to evade Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
Although Land of Gold is a bit clunky and cliché at times, the movie overall is a very touching tale about two people coming together and connecting through their common values of family. Kiran is Punjabi-American and Elena is Mexican-American, but the two find a way to see themselves in each other because they both value their respective cultures and family, so in turn, become a new family in and of itself.
The chemistry between Khurmi and Valencia make this film worth watching, while you can see the sort-of father and daughter relationship on the screen. You can also see the director and actor relationship between the two of them, as Khurmi and Valencia play a game of “Follow the Leader” throughout the duration of the film. However, who’s the follower and who’s the leader? The dynamic shifts from scene-to-scene, while Khurmi was smart to have the film play out in this way. It shows that the relationship is more dynamic and heartfelt, while it feels like the American immigration version of Lone Wolf and Cub or James Mangold’s Logan.
The movie is also a road trip movie, of sorts, while we see how the pair gets treated from coast-to-coast and each one’s trauma in American society comes out more and more. You really do develop a sympathy for the characters, while Homeland Security is a heavy presence throughout. But overall, Land of Gold is a fantastic film from Khurmi—especially for a debut feature. It has the weight and pathos that carries you from beginning to end, while it has something to say about being an immigrant in a country that’s built on immigration, but somehow, makes life tougher and harder on immigrants as a whole.
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