Most movies have become depressing nowadays. They are depressing not because of their content but because of their style and substance, or lack thereof. Filmmakers are busy borrowing tropes and recycling old material. It's worse when they have no imagination. They churn out derivative hogwash and further shoot themselves in the foot by sucking out joy from their material. It seems to me that many filmmakers have forgotten how to (re)create simple pleasures of trash. They adapt from pulpy sources but imbue their production with sappy or half-baked emotions to make their films appear "sincere." It's as if they consider the pleasures of pulp to be a sin. The motto of such filmmakers is simple: You have to be "serious" to some extent to grab accolades from the critics and the audience. If you really want to be a "serious" filmmaker, why not write a story that is both complex and intellectually stimulating? Why touch something dumb and permeate it with shallow emotions to "put heart into the narrative?"
That's precisely what writer Stefan Barth and director Peter Thorwarth do in Blood & Gold. Here is a movie that should have been out and out kooky. For god's sake, there is a scene here in which Obersturmbannführer von Starnfeld (Alexander Scheer) removes a ring from his eye and puts it on a lady's finger. A thief digs a big hole to retrieve gold but finds a copy of the Bible instead. He opens the book and reads the following words from it: "Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill." With scenes like these, you can't help but scream, "Why the hell is this film not a full-blown comedy?" What's the point in giving Heinrich (Robert Maaser) a weepy backstory? Okay, forget his tragic past. What's the use of mentioning his daughter in the story? If it was meant to act as some kind of emotional hook, congratulations, you failed successfully (in the final shot, a tear rolls down a character's cheek while you yawn and look at the time). A movie needs to have either incredible actors or characters that go beyond the boundaries of the screenplay. Only then can the audience find them convincing and identify with their pain and happiness.
This is not the case in Blood & Gold. The characters here really look like puppets. You can almost see their threads being pulled by the filmmakers. This is the kind of film where we have someone like Paule (Simon Rupp) so that the writer can use him to generate complications. Barth merely wants his dramatis personae to move from one block to another, and Thorwarth is content with filming them in the most serviceable way possible. The problem with filmmakers who don't have any creative muscle to flex is that they go for cheap shots to evoke a response from the audience. Hence, Thorwarth pushes our buttons through that scene of sexual violence. The movie also mines surface-level gratifications from that moment when Paule throws a soldier from a church and madly fires bullets at the Nazi men and civilians. In other movies, the shots fail to hit the protagonist. In this film, the bullets fail to hit the bad guys. While Paule fires the gun, von Starnfeld stands firmly in his position. Not a single bullet pierces his skin. Even Elsa (Marie Hacke) fails to hit him from a close range. To sell a moment like this, you must have an actor/character with a towering screen presence. Starnfeld, though, looks feeble, which is why this entire sequence feels nonsensical.
There is one good sequence in the entire movie, and that comes when Elsa kills someone using a cyanide pill. Blood & Gold could have benefitted from more such moments (and a better, less idiotic title). But the filmmakers are too busy playing with their toys. During the climax, they insert bombs and rocket launchers and blow up a church. You don't need the almighty when it's the people who are alive that make and break things around them. God isn't active or uninterested in interfering with our affairs. He doesn't save a priest from getting a headshot here. Want to save your loved ones from misfortune and torture? Stop praying and start tackling obstacles.
Final Score- [3.5/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times
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