Country Gold, the latest film from Mickey Reece, sees up-and-coming country music star Troyal Brux (Reece) invited to Nashville to spend a weekend with ageing musician George Jones (Ben Hall). What begins as an awkward meeting quickly takes a bizarre turn when George explains that he plans to be cryogenically frozen in the morning and he wants Troyal to accompany him on a wild night out in Nashville to celebrate what will be his last day on Earth.
Shot in striking black and white, Country Gold is a very good-looking film. It’s also an incredibly strange one that frequently branches off into peculiar tangents that have very little to do with anything. Reece’s movie has a very specific flavour of humour to it that won’t connect with everyone – but those who click with the surrealist tone will be in for an unexpectedly wild ride.
Viewers won’t need to wait long to discover whether this film’s tone is right for them: it’s only a few minutes into the runtime when Troyal’s young children appear on-screen and – for no obvious logical reason – stare at one another lifelessly while talking in low distorted voices. The entire exchange is so amazingly bonkers that it’s hard not to grin while watching the scene unfold. There’s a definite Lynchian undertone running through the aesthetic. Not only do the characters share the same sort of eccentric mannerisms and dialogue, but the Nashville setting is given an otherworldly, feverish feel that’s reminiscent of the industrial dystopia of Eraserhead (a comparison that becomes more apt during this film’s credits).
Whether it’s George explaining exactly why Troyal should never get his steak well done at a restaurant or a member of their entourage drunkenly explaining why Star Trek is the best show ever made, there are plenty of moments where Reece’s humour and style gel brilliantly. However, there are likewise just as many sequences (a flashback showing George’s involvement in an undercover operation, for example) where the filmmaker is less successful in executing his style.
There simply aren’t many films like Country Gold being made today, and while the tone may not work for some viewers, Reece has nevertheless created a madcap slice of independent cinema.
Country Gold does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Glasgow Film Festival 2023 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Glasgow Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Country Gold here: