If you call yourself a Zac Efron fan, then you’ll need to go ahead and clear your schedule on January 26 so you can see your boy in the Stan Original film Gold. Not to sound dramatic, but this is Efron’s best performance ever.
I say this with the authority of being a long-term Zac Efron believer. From the moment he danced his way into my heart as Troy Bolton in High School Musical all the way back in 2006, I knew he was going to, er, bop to the top (sorry) and become a huge star. And call me psychic, but he bloody did.
After the HSM films and Hairspray, Efron branched out into (non-musical) comedy with 17 Again. I think he surprised people by being genuinely funny in that movie, and it led to him landing more comedic roles like Bad Neighbours, Dirty Grandpa and Baywatch.
Since then, he’s revisited his musical roots in smash-hit The Greatest Showman and of course, played serial killer Ted Bundy to eerie perfection in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile.
But his newest flick, the Stan Original film Gold, is — and I’m sorry for the cliché — Zac Efron as you’ve ~never seen him before~. It’s true though. Look at him!
To get to this point in the film, a lot of shit happens. Let me run you through it, in a non-spoilery way.
The movie, which is co-written, directed by and co-stars overachieving Aussie Anthony Hayes, was filmed in South Australia. (Remember when Zac Efron was here sending us all wild wanting to go and stalk him? Well yeah, this is part of the reason why.)
It centres on two blokes who are travelling through a desert when they stumble upon the biggest, fuck-off piece of gold known to man. The trouble is, it’s like a huge golden iceberg and most of the nugget is under the surface of the dirt. What to do!
One guy (Hayes) leaves the other (Efron) to guard the gold while he races off to get the right equipment to excavate. And what ensues is your classic tale of a man left to his own devices, facing the increasingly harsh elements and the arrival of a mysterious stranger (Susie Porter) while slowly descending into paranoia.
While there are two other minor characters, Gold is Zac Efron’s film. He’s the one we wait with, the one we barrack for, and the one who we question everything with. Is this gold even real? Is anything real? Is the other bloke coming back?
Honestly, I forgot I was watching Zac Efron after a while. Sure, it helped that he was virtually unrecognisable as his face started to literally peel off, but the role is a transformative one in other ways.
In Gold, he’s desperate, he’s wild, he’s almost animalistic as he vainly attempts to hang on to the gold and hang on to his life. I’ve never seen Zac Efron like this and I have to say, I’m into it. More of this, please.
In a way, Gold reminded me of Cast Away, Buried and 127 Hours — movies carried by one actor as their character fights for survival. It takes a bloody good actor to single-handedly hook you in for a couple of hours and keep your bum firmly planted on the edge of your seat and your eyes averted from your phone.
And with Gold, Zac Efron does just that. Gold star.
Gold is streaming on Stan from January 26.
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