Rising star Troyal Brux spends an evening with his idol George Jones, unaware that the music legend has a rather cold deadline the following morning.
Mickey Reece returns to Fantastic Fest with a black-and-white comedy about masculinity, art, and legacy. Reece stars as Troyal Brux, a country music star with commercial appeal and a busy tour schedule who accepts an invitation from country music legend George Jones, played by Reece regular Ben Hall, for a night out on the town in Nashville. Little does Troyal know that Jones intends to cryogenically freeze himself in the morning. What follows is a night of booze, drugs, zealous fans, and discussions centered on the compromises demanded by commercial entertainment. It’s an absurdist comedy laced with existential despair and a horror movie non-sequitur. It sounds like it just might be too much, but COUNTRY GOLD is grounded in fundamental questions about what it means to create art. As the up-and-coming Troyal faces insecurities about his ability to impress George, the old legend simultaneously wonders if his increasing irrelevance means he never really had talent in the first place. If you like chamber pieces with characters just trying to talk through life’s biggest problems, you’ll find a lot to love in COUNTRY GOLD. All the trademarks of Mickey Reece are here in his script, written with John Selvidge, as people talk in rooms and joke about life. Taking place over a single night, George’s impending cryogenic deadline forces Troyal and George to face their own successes and failures, as the morning brings closure that neither of them can forego. Reece and Hall engage in a feature-length tug-of-war, each scene gives one or the other the upper hand, only to be taken down in the next. The suspense comes not from the ending but how they challenge each other along the way. It is not just the excellent performances that power this film. Samuel Calvin‘s monochromatic cinematography makes this film feel like a different era, a memory of an urban legend. COUNTRY GOLD sees a rising star confront his own impending legacy, while a fading one reflects back on his ending. (AUSTIN KING)
Closed Captions [CC]