The Lure

 

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The possibility of finding buried treasure is the lure in this real-life tale.

 
The Lure

  

Audiences here may well be unfamiliar with the name of the octogenarian Forrest Fenn. He was a pilot in the Vietnam war and later an established art dealer who became a millionaire. But, if his fame outlives him, it will be because in 2010 he made it known that he had buried a treasure chest containing $3 million in the Rocky Mountains. That claim, be it true or false, came with cryptic clues, the first in a poem, as to the whereabouts of this gift available to anyone who could find it. That initiated a treasure hunt which has drawn over 65,000 people into the search. One such person, David ‘Desertphile’ Rice, a notable figure among the five or six hunters featured here, comments on the human desire to be remembered after one's death. Whether or not you regard the whole thing as a hoax, Forrest Finn's actions have ensured the he for one will have that kind of fame.

 

The Lure, a documentary feature by Tomas Leach, has undoubted novelty value simply by virtue of taking this treasure hunt as its subject. Finn, regarded by some as a kind of puppeteer, appears in person along with a number of searchers, but Leach chooses to focus principally on a small number of them, namely three men and three women. We do learn something about these individuals in the course of the film's 77 minutes and gain the impression that what drives them is not the desire for wealth as such. Nevertheless, since nobody has found the treasure, we inevitably watch them going round in circles, even if not literally so.

 

Consequently, while The Lure is a very individual movie, how worthwhile people find it is largely down to the amount of curiosity that each viewer has about people who allow themselves to become obsessed in this way. For those who regard this as intriguing but not perhaps sufficiently so to sustain a whole movie, Tomas Leach offers a big bonus. Some documentaries fare as well on TV as in the cinema but Leach, who photographed the film himself, opts for 'Scope and colour and provides stunning pictures of Mexico, Colorado and surrounding areas. As regards his own attitude to Fenn and his claim, there may be a hint in the written statement seen at the start: "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact". Offered as a quotation it proves to be a tongue-in-cheek one since it is then attributed to a fictional character, Sherlock Holmes! But the hunters seen in the film, all of them undeterred by their failure to find the treasure, are very much for real. The most telling of the portraits to emerge here is that of Mike 'Buddy' Cox and fittingly in a well-judged conclusion he is given the last word.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Featuring  Amanda Fry, Paulina Longenbaugh, David 'Desertphile' Rice, Mike 'Buddy' Cox, Forrest Fenn.

 

Dir Tomas Leach, Pro Robert Fernandez, Ph Tomas Leach, Ed Ben Stark, Music Calexico.

 

Moxie Pictures-Moxie Pictures.
77 mins. USA/UK. 2016. Rel: 8 September 2017. No Cert.