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Thomas Arslan

2013 || Germany || Color || in German || Feature


The Match Factory


Berlin 2013 – Competition


A determined independent young woman is among a group of Germans who make a strenuous journey in the Klondike region in search of gold in the 1890s… starring Nina Hoss (BARBARA, YELLA, THE WHITE MASSAI). from the director of IN THE SHADOWS, VACATION and DEALER.


Nina Hoss
Marko Mandic
Uwe Bohm
Lars Rudolph
Peter Kurth
Rosa Enskat
Wolfgang Packhauser


A revisionist Western that is strong on visuals and a gritty sense of authenticity… a strong role for Nina Hoss as a German woman hoping to make her fortune in the Klondike Gold Rush. Admirable in its decision not to pander to standard Wild West clichés and favouring understatement over gunplay it is at its best when it comes to emphasising the harsh and bleak realities of immigrants making their way out in the wilderness… A beautifully shot film that makes the most of its widescreen format, Gold provides a fascinating glimpse into a dramatic period…


Thomas Arslan's astutely cast, beautifully crafted "Gold" tells the story of a diverse group of Germans who set off on the trek with great hopes. This involving, naturalistic period piece, full of tension and immediacy, satisfyingly exploits the conventions of the late-era Western as well as its ruggedly majestic landscapes, and could spell healthy returns, if not B.O. gold, for select arthouse distributors… the film represents a big leap for Arslan, hitherto known for small, critically acclaimed character studies and most recently, the Berlin underworld thriller "In the Shadows." He keeps the action lean, tight and quiet, and his dialogue is notably spare, used mainly for exposition… In a story so reliant on the physical efforts the characters must make to achieve their goal, the thesps, with their dirty, weather-beaten faces, convince as pioneers capable of riding, shooting, pitching camp and, if necessary, performing rough surgery. Nina Hoss ("Barbara") is ideally cast as the prickly, self-sufficient Emily, who is determined to move forward at all costs, while Slovenia-born Marco Mandic is entirely credible as the resilient immigrant worker skilled in the ways of animals and nature; his performance here should earn him notice from casting directors around the world… Tech credits are topnotch across the board. Patrick Orth's dynamic use of natural light and widescreen lensing gains in impact by keeping the camera close to the characters and only occasionally revealing the endless wilderness they're lost in. Anette Guther's evocative period costumes show the wear and tear of the main characters' odyssey, as the exigencies of the journey soon cause men and women alike to give up such concerns as wearing clean clothes and bathing.

— Alissa Simon, VARIETY

Anchored by a strong lead performance by "Barbara" star Nina Hoss as the wandering Emily… Whenever the movie foregrounds its visuals, "Gold" holds onto a stark atmosphere that places it in line with the finest precedents the director clearly had in mind (a dash of Peckinpah by way of John Ford, I reckon)…

— Erick Kohn, INDIEWIRE