X truly marks the spot in British documentary filmmaker Tomas Leach’s new feature The Lure, detailing the trials and tribulations of a group of fervent hunters scaling the Rocky Mountains in hope of finding former art dealer Forrest Fenn’s hidden fortune.
Believed by many to be a publicity stunt, thousands a year flock to Santa Fe in anticipation of laying their hands on the octogenarian’s loot, the total worth of which is estimated at 2-3 million dollars. Adding further intrigue, the location of Fenn’s treasure is encrypted within a poem written by the author himself, included in the final pages of his memoir The Thrill of the Chase. Although many have come within near reach of the treasure (a reported 200 feet), the bounty has not yet been found and the search continues.
Leach does well in portraying his fanatical subjects in a pure, humanistic light: it is not the prospect of riches that drives them but is instead, as reflected in the title of Fenn’s memoir, the “thrill of the chase”. Each character has their own story for wanting to find the treasure, be it a way of bettering the self, reconnecting with family or simply being remembered for something grander than just living. In a way, the treasure hunt has become such a focus for trackers that if the fortune were found it is difficult to comprehend their lives without the search.
Aesthetically, The Lure is something to be cherished with swooping shots of gorgeous rural landscapes and monolithic mountain structures creating a real sense of adventure. However, the narrative is somewhat monotonous and it is unclear as to what message Leach is trying to portray as the tone of the film undergoes climactic shifts from serious to blithe.
An interesting watch but it seems that, much like Fenn’s treasure, more stimulating case studies are yet to be found.
The Lure is released nationwide on 8th September 2017.
Watch the trailer for The Lure here: