Gold Run (2022) Review
Gold Run, Gulltransporten in its native Norwegian, begins on an ominous note as air raid sirens interrupt a birthday party for one of Fredrik Haslund’s (Jon Øigarden, A Storm for Christmas, Lords of Chaos) children. It’s 1940 and the German invasion of Norway has begun.
As the King and the government are moved to a safer location plans are made to make sure the Germans don’t get their hands on the country’s gold reserves. This involves requisitioning every truck they can find, including one belonging to the gruff Odd Henry (Sven Nordin, Blue Eyes, Børning 2). Despite being a rather less than heroic figure, Haslund finds himself in charge of the trucks taking the gold to Lillehammer. They set out just as the Germans under Major Stoltmann (Anatole Taubman, Captain America: The First Avenger, Taken) enter the city.
Director Hallvard Bræin (Børning, Asphalt Burning) along with writers Sofia Lersol Lund (Twin, Children of Satan), Thomas Moldestad (Cold Prey 2, Zombie Lars) and Jørgen Storm Rosenberg have mixed facts and historical characters with fictional ones. Not being well-versed in Norwegian history, I couldn’t tell where Gold Run strays from the facts.
What I can say is that Gold Run is an enjoyable adventure film that follows the template for the genre and kicks into gear after everything seems to have gone as planned. Once they reach Lillehammer they realize it isn’t safe. Haslund is put in charge of getting the gold to the coast for transport to England. He’s given a military escort in the form of Major Sunde (Eivind Sander, Lilyhammer, Cupid’s Balls) and his men which isn’t nearly enough to hold off the Germans if they’re caught.
The script hits the notes one expects from a film like this, conflicts between the civilian and military leaders of the mission, unexpected setbacks including one of the film’s highlights an attack on the British cruiser that was supposed to transport the gold, unexpected heroism, and betrayal. It’s a familiar enough template, and Gold Run follows it with a good deal of enthusiasm if not originality.
While there are a couple of larger action set pieces, most of the film relies on suspense as the Norwegians try to stay one step ahead of the Germans despite all of the setbacks and changing objectives. Anyone from Gold Run’s home country will know how it turned out, and the rest of us can probably guess, Bræin manages to find ways to keep the suspense up, usually by using the fates of individual characters.
The final act is also the film’s biggest action scene as they struggle to get the last of the reserves onto a boat as the Germans bomb the harbour and surrounding city. It’s tense enough even without adding a fuel truck in danger of exploding.
Gold Run is more of a popcorn film than many recent war films. It doesn’t ignore the realities of war, but it doesn’t have the grimness that many of the films that came after Saving Private Ryan did. While Stoltmann is given deep black circles around his eyes that make him look like some sort of demonic walking corpse, the worst we see him do is punch somebody during an interrogation. Similarly, the on-screen deaths are minimized and clean, with nobody slowly bleeding out or burning to death.
And while that sanitization of war may not sit well with some viewers, Gold Run isn’t meant to be that kind of film. It’s an enjoyable old school adventure film, like many of us can remember watching on television.
Gold Run was released in Norway and several other countries on December 15th by way of the Viaplay streaming service. Viaplay is available in other countries, including the UK and US, but no release date has been announced. In the meantime, FilmTagger can suggest some similar films to tide you over.