Viennale ’13: Gold

Only few of my friends liked Thomas Arslan’s last movie IM SCHATTEN (IN THE SHADOW). I did, and somehow I did not mind the long scenes where almost nothing happens.

So I was looking forward to seeing GOLD, because I was eager to know how a genre movie would deal with slowness and gaps in the narration.

On the surface GOLD is a rather traditional western. But I think that it is actually a film about the surviving of humanity. Because we all now “man is a wolf to man”, especially in a group in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by unknown perils.


So far, so predictable. But also interesting, because the question is how a German arthouse writer/director would deal with the typical topoi of the Western genre.

Though I really wanted to like this film, I could not connect to it, especially to the characters. My biggest problems were the dialogs which I found rather stereotypical and staged. And I had the feeling that I had seen all this already in other movies. The narration was not focused enough and too conventional for my taste. I would have loved to see it executed in a lighter, playful and less predictable way.

But I missed especially one thing: The film tells the tale of a group of German immigrants looking for gold, money and happiness. This justifies why everyone is talking in German. But otherwise I missed the problem of “being German” in a foreign country full of possibilities and risks as a topic almost throughout the movie. There was the old couple, the young wild one, the macho looking for power and the greedy business man. And then there is the woman with a secret. But in the end it is a group of people fighting to survive. And it does not matter that they are German, as the characters did what I  would expect from any character in a Western movie.

Now this can mean two things: Either we are all the same, no matter where we come from. Or there were not enough ideas to visualize this aspect, though I read that the writer/director Thomas Arslan found it important that his characters are German.

Anyway, though I enjoyed seeing the vast landscapes, it was not exactly my cup of tea.

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