Original review featured on The Doha Film Institute website.

Director: Éric Besnard
Stars: Clovis Cornillac, Audrey Dana and Patrick Chesnais
Genre: Action, Adventure

A group of adventurers stole gold from the heart of Guyana. The operation didn’t go as planned, because their helicopter had to crash-land in the middle of the jungle…with six hundred kilos of gold, an impossible amount for them to carry on foot, through this forest. Now fugitives, the five men, and two women, now face insects, fatigue, and the threat of arrest that makes their long journey almost impossible. Being trapped in the middle of nowhere and all obsessed with money, confrontation becomes unavoidable.

The crew steals the gold, blows up a camp, makes ferocious enemies who wouldn’t mind shedding blood for the sake of fortune. Unable to carry their bounty on foot, they decide to burry the billions and return to retrieve them with some practical support. Their precious cargo in the ground, they are forced to stick to each other in order to avoid any possibility of treason. But this simple plan seems more complicated than it sounds: there’s a big jungle ahead, a pregnant woman who might deliver anytime, and many enemies who want them dead.

A lot of effort went into creating this action/adventure, and this film is filled with interesting elements. Unfortunately, the production values just don’t seem to do the ideas justice.

As the title of the film suggests, the gold obsession works as a bad spell, unmasking the faces of our protagonists and revealing their true, and not-so-pleasant natures. With the jungle setting – which is properly used to aggravate their mental situation – the film manages to make of this harsh place a vicious circle, of characters having to deal with both the jungle and their rivals. However, the behavior of the characters is escalated solely due to surrounding situations, leaving behind a potential for a great psychological thriller by not allowing a smooth development. Some of them are reduced to greedy murderers while others are hero wanabees. More could have been done with this situation.

Picturesque cinematography in such a genre is almost mandatory…after all we are dealing with a vast and rich location in this forest. There are some good attempts in this regard, but overall the camera work didn’t take advantage of this diverse scenery to the service of the script. And in many occasions, framing scenes looked amateurish.

Starting with an appealing concept – even if it’s a déjà-vu plot – the film tried to create a blockbuster inspired by popular Hollywood adventures. It had the right foundation for it, but missed the assembly of these building blocks.

The film is dubbed in English (originally French) and is now playing in Doha before the new releases to be screened during the Eid vacation.

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