Indie Film Review: "Deep Gold" (2011)
POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, May 27, 2011 Share
Deep Gold (2011)
Starring: Bebe Pham, Jaymee Ong, Amelia Jackson-Gray, Laury Prudent, Kersten Hui, and Michael Gleissner
Directed by: Michael Gleissner
RT: 90 mins
I don't know if I've ever seen a full-length Filipino-produced action movie before, or if I did, I don't remember it. That will not be the case with the subject of today's review, Deep Gold!
Filmed in the beautiful and exotic locations of Cebu and Visayas in the Philippines, and with a primarily Filipino cast, it took on a "foreign film" feel, but that did not distract from the action in the least. In fact, it made it even more mysterious.
Here's the outline...
Shortly after free diver Amy Sanchez (Bebe Pham) breaks an important freediving record, her boyfriend -- Air Force pilot Tony (Jack Prinya) -- mysteriously vanishes together with a flight that was bringing millions of dollars worth of gold to the Central Bank. Determined to discover the truth, Amy goes off with her sister Jess (Jaymee Ong) to find out.
Is Tony actually dead? Or if not, is the man she loved really part of the plot to steal the gold? But she has no idea that she is about to discover the unexpected, and entangles herself in a web of lies and deceit before she finds out that somebody used her for what turns out to become a much larger conspiracy.
Along the way Amy meets some colorful characters. Chang (Kersten Hui), the man they owe money to for the boat they use for the hunt. Lulu (Laury Prudent), the radio announcer who works her show from a lighthouse(!) and provides a little help along the way, and finally the reporters, Benny and Claire Simpson (Michael Gleissner and Amelia Jackson-Gray) whose job it is to cover this rescue.
First of all, I have to say that the star, Bebe Pham, is amazing! This is totally her show. Her athleticism and sex appeal are thoroughly showcased and those alone make for a provocative viewing experience. Her sister in the film isn't half-bad, either!
The script has a few problems, more obvious in the first third of the movie which dragged a little as the characters are introduced. Also irritating is that not all of the actors are of equal caliber.
Once the action kicks in, it REALLY kicks in hard---I can actually say the second half of this film kept me on the edge of my seat rooting for the good guys! After the relatively uneventful opening I didn't expect that. But as it goes, the conspiracies compound every minute and true agendas are revealed---some surprising, some not. Loyalties are tested and some old wounds must be dealt with to survive.
Besides Bebe Pham's Amy Sanchez, the smarmy and suspicious reporter Benny Simpson (played by writer-director Michael Gleissner) and the radio DJ Lulu (Laury Prudent) are, to me, the stand-out characters. I'd also like to give a nod to the comic nuances of "Chang" (Kersten Hui) the wheeler-dealer at the boat dock.
Also, kudos to the cinematographer who captures the exotic locales so wonderfully, as well as the underwater action scenes with Pham.
Once you accept the fact that a young female athlete has to defeat the forces of darkness and a military cover-up practically solo (major suspension of disbelief there), you should enjoy Deep Gold!
One last tip: stay through the end credits. As they're rolling, there's an interview with the Mayor of Cebu, Tommy Osmena, that resolves dangling plot points. I got the feeling that was tacked-on at the end so the previous action wouldn't be interrupted for lengthy explanations. Or maybe the production ran short on money to film an epilogue, but whatever. It's awkward, but it works.
"Nolan's Pop Culture Review" is ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.
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