Twenty years ago, Garnet Frost nearly lost his life hiking near Scotland’s Loch Arkaig. The near-death experience still haunts him to this day, and, in particular, a peculiar wooden stick he discovered serendipitously right before he was rescued. Believing the staff (as he calls it) is actually a marker for a fortune hidden nearly 300 years ago, Garnet embarks on a treasure hunt to search for the lost riches. But beneath the search for gold lies a poignant pursuit for life’s meaning and inspiration.
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★★★★ review by Romain Mereau on Letterboxd
Some people are filled with spirit, adventure and the desire to try new things. Although he's never been wealthy or particularly successful, Garnet Frost is one such person.
Garnet's Gold follows his journey to investigate a place from his past – a loch in the Scottish wilderness where he became lost over 20 years ago. Nearly dying there as a young man, he was rescued by fate in the form of a lone fisherman. In the years since, he's been consumed with the idea that the place he stumbled upon might hold real treasure – a legendary lost chest of gold from the 18th Century. This is the story of his return.
The film combines pensive interviews and intimate portraits with the adventure at hand. Garnet is a unique figure of British spirit - both boisterous and humble, with the soul of a poet. His relationship with his mother, who is herself a magnificent figure and interview subject, bears a love and frustration that's so relatable.
Filled with the resplendent brooding landscapes of Scotland, this is one of the most beautifully-shot documentaries I've ever seen. A thoughtful gaze at what it means to lead a life of ambition, and of the tangible success of trying.
★★★★½ review by meltwaterfalls on Letterboxd
In the BBC's excellent documentary series Storyville, this one perhaps stands out as being the most beautiful.
Whilst it is ostensibly about a man searching for gold in the highlands; the documentary's real glory is the way in which it paints a vivid picture of the central character. Especially the way it shows his relationships, most notably with his elderly mother.
It is so beautifully filmed and edited that I was captivated by a subject I had no real interest in. To stand out in the Storyville series you have to make something really special, and the director has done just that.
★★★½ review by Graham Williamson on Letterboxd
A very beautiful documentary, so beautiful that it took me out of watching it as a documentary - was some of this staged? Surely Ed Perkins can't get the image looking this beautiful in the heat of the moment, in these conditions? Maybe he can. And maybe he can't and it doesn't matter. I'm a Herzog fan, so I'm hardly well-placed to complain about directors hopping all over the documentary-fiction line. What excuses these techniques is the overall effect, and this tale of a man looking for the lost treasure of Bonnie Prince Charlie is moving and evocative enough to make my quibbles irrelevant. I love the Scottish highlands - they're perhaps the most comforting lonely place that exists, and Perkins absolutely gets the most out of them in this film.
Besides, there's plenty of things that are real enough, like the vicious array of insect bites Garnet gets on his quest. Yikes.
★★★★ review by Unklerupert on Letterboxd
Beautifully shot documentary about one man's journey in search of gold, but maybe not the kind we can hold.
On BBC iPlayer, watch it while you can:-
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