There is a lot going on in David Wall’s Gold Dust, so I will do my best to be concise in my plot synopsis. Fink (David Wall) and Moses (David Mysocki) are lifelong friends who are seeking their fortune by following the clues to a rumored treasure worth millions. When out one day, they discover a desert plain that is not on any of their maps. They find a hang glider near a jeep. Searching the vehicle, the duo uncovers the corpse of Santa. When checking the rest of the automobile, they discover a bag full of money and a young girl, Maggie (Maggie Hough).
Agreeing that they can’t just leave her there, they decide to trek to the nearest town. Along the way, Moses and Maggie bond quickly, and it is revealed that the kid is “owned” by and is forced to run drugs for notorious cartel head El Guapo (Garrett Marchbank). El Guapo wants his money and property (the kid) back. To that end, he sends in his silent, dancing assassin (Derek Severson) to track down and take care of them.
“…the duo uncovers the corpse of Santa. When checking the rest of the automobile, they discover a bag full of money and a young girl…”
Plus, there’s Fink’s desperate desire to track down his old high school crush Joy Lynn Fairbanks (Kerry Wall). The desperate clues left behind by adventurers Winters and Wang, who seem to always be one step ahead of Fink and Moses. Then there’s the sock-hating field agent for the cartel, Machuca (Burns Burns), who is aware that Santa is dead before El Guapa. Oh, and I can’t forget the rebel band of orphans, dubbed the Lost Boys, all of whom have escaped from the cruel grasp of the cartel. Now, the seven of them are plotting to raid the hotel, where the others are kept and free them.
Impressively, Wall, who wrote, directed, and produced the movie ably balances each plot thread so that every wild narrative organically flows into each other. Though, he isn’t quite as surefooted when it comes to the tone of Gold Dust. Moses likes to play the “would you rather be…” game with Fink, who routinely decides not to play. But, in his telling Moses that, answers the question anyway. It is a repeated and amusing joke, one that has a remarkable payoff near the end. The dancing killer is pretty creepy and feels like he belongs in The Grand Budapest Hotel than in the same picture as his utterly buffoonish boss.
Then there is the drama surrounding Maggie’s story and the echoes of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome that reverberates in the audience’s mind when introduced to the Lost Boys. While the film eventually settles on heartfelt as its sentiment of choice, to excellent effect I should add, some scenes are a bit shaky as the viewer has to readjust to this new, jarring tone. However, that is not to suggest that Gold Dust is not worth your time. In fact, I found quite the opposite to be true.
"…the film leaves you with a sense of what true friendship and sacrifice mean."