Courtesy Samuel Goldwyn Films

Fledgling writer Samuel Liston’s life is changed forever when Floyd Deveraux hits him with his Cadillac, one dark night. BIG GOLD BRICK follows Samuel through his bizarre experiences with Floyd and the rest of the Deveraux family, as Samuel pens Floyd’s biography. Chaos ensues and there are no coincidences and only cosmic questions, from Floyd and Samuel’s first meeting through every twist and turn of Floyd’s strange life.

BIG GOLD BRICK is written and directed by Brian Petsos and stars Emory Cohen (Blue Bayou) and Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Eleven). Filling out the ensemble and making up a strange menagerie of the menacing, sensual, and charming are Megan Fox, Lucy Hale, and Oscar Isaac.

BIG GOLD BRICK self identifies as a cerebral comedy, but it reads more as cerebral soup. The film’s chaotic narrative gradually unravels – unhinges even – as it fluctuates between high energy and a hulking slog. Nothing about BIG GOLD BRICK is cohesive. Its circumstances are bizarre. Its attention span is less than that of a gnat. In terms of the cerebral, in the case of BIG GOLD BRICK that has less to do with deeper messages and lofty themes and more to do with the bloat of its dialogue (delivered at breakneck speed, I grant you). Basically, BIG GOLD BRICK is hellbent on taking the viewer to nowhere in particular.

Credit where credit is due, BIG GOLD BRICK is absolutely an actor’s piece. The utter insanity of this film creates ample opportunity for performers to play. Some – Hale and Fox, in particular – find a comfortable rhythm in playing stock characters to their most extreme realization. Emory Cohen and Andy Garcia are absolute clowns (said with love) and give and give and give on physicality and energy. Oscar Isaac is given a single scene but once again demonstrates that at his core he is a stage actor that occasionally deigns to be a movie star with a performance that can only be summarized in an exclamation of “What in the hell?”

Regrettably, BIG GOLD BRICK’s fatal flaw is that it continuously gets in its own way. These characters are damn interesting. The cinematography shows a vast range of jarring, uncomfortable shots and some truly beautiful visuals. There are good things here, but the plot makes it impossible to appreciate these elements. The film is overly complicated, difficult to follow, and buckles under the weight of its own excessive runtime and stacking structure. It’s just… exhausting. A cinematic staircase to nowhere. What is it for? What is it doing here?

BIG GOLD BRICK would have its viewers believe its murkiness is part of its mystique. That it’s so bizarre and out-there that it must be onto something miraculous. Dear Reader, the emperor has no clothes and BIG GOLD BRICK does not make good on its promise of an intellectual escape.

BIG GOLD BRICK is now available in theaters and on-demand.

Caitlin Kennedy
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