Alphonse Puthren’s ‘Gold’ (Malayalam) has a lot of big ideas but they don’t come together as a satisfying whole

Posted on December 6, 2022


Spoilers ahead…

The film, starring Prithviraj and Nayanthara, never takes root in the head, and the effort to put together the links is exhausting.  

Gold marks Alphonse Puthren’s return to the screen after seven years, and to talk about the flavour – or rather the vibe – of the film, let’s look at the stretch where a man needs a gold furnace. The easiest thing may be to have the man Google it up, but this is how Alphonse does it. The man calls a jewellery store. No luck. He calls another jewellery store. Again, no luck. Then he calls someone who is about to hang himself. Bingo. He gets it. This entire series of scenes is not about “logic”, but about a certain approach the screenplay takes. It rambles with scenes you think can be cut out, but without those scenes the punch with the suicidal man would not work.

The man looking for the furnace is Joshy, and he’s played by Prithviraj in a somewhat one-note manner – but that is also because the character is one-note. Like many in the film, he has no shades. Gold takes off when Joshy discovers a truck full of, well, gold, and there’s a parallel track where the phone store he owns in a mall is about to slip away from his hands because the owner of the mall has asked him to vacate the premises. Now, this is a classic situation about a desperate man and the easiest route the screenplay could have taken is to first establish the desperation, the need for money, and then have Joshy come across the gold, which could solve all his problems. But Alphonse – thankfully – is not your typical filmmaker (or writer), and he does not link these two pieces of information in a “dramatic” way: that is, in the way a typical cause-and-effect drama would. He keeps them separate. Instead of using the “gold situation” to make us pity Joshy and root for him, he uses it to build a series of obstacles for the man.

You can read the rest of the review here:

And you can watch the video review here:

Copyright ©2022 GALATTA.