In its official poster, Brian Petsos’ fantasy comedy-drama film “Big Gold Brick” calls itself a “cerebral comedy.” But what it turns out to be is a massive, messy disappointment, with a dismal attempt to seem very unique and a plot that is quite all over the place. The narrative presents a popular author retelling the story of how certain events changed his life, the events about which he has written his bestselling book. In its attempt to look and seem different, “Big Gold Brick” messes up big time and is a film not worth watching.
‘Big Gold Brick’ Plot Summary
Samuel Liston is a well-known, best-selling author who travels the country giving television interviews, radio programs, and conference calls about his life and the events that inspired him to write his book “With Bricks of Gold.” While he is talking about it in the background, the film visually shows younger Samuel, a young man distraught over his life after his mother’s death and his girlfriend’s dumping him. Even more frustrated by his inability to write, for he intends to be a writer, young Sam takes to drinking regularly, and in one such frenzied moment, he decides to leave home. Taking a night bus, he arrives at a seemingly small town called Rockchester, and keeps walking aimlessly by the side of the road, continuing to drink.
Floyd Deveraux, a wealthy man, happens to be driving through that area enjoying a cup of ice cream, and when he loses concentration over a fit of cough, he rams his car into Sam, who is standing in the middle of the road. Floyd quickly realizes that Sam has been terribly injured and calls for an ambulance to rush him to the hospital.
Over the next few weeks, Floyd keeps visiting the hospital and continues Sam’s treatment as the young man miraculously recovers from coma. Floyd is unable to bear with the guilt that he feels for crashing into Sam, and he offers the writer a job to write his life’s biography. Although Sam refuses at first, saying that he is more of a short-story writer, the cash stipend that Floyd offers is good enough to win him over.
After Sam is released from the hospital, Floyd takes him to his own house and arranges for his accommodation there. Sam is introduced to Floyd’s family—Jacqueline, Floyd’s young and adulterous second wife, who is a successful attorney; Edward, his young boy, who is devilishly mischievous and enjoys the fact that people are generally scared of him; and Lily, Floyd’s daughter from his first marriage, an attractive girl who went through a breakdown after her education in music.
Sam starts working with Floyd, getting to know him, but the man still keeps his profession secret, only saying that he works for a private security company, a profession impossible to match with Floyd’s wealth and status. Sam also opens up about his past to Floyd, revealing how much he hates his father, who runs a popular business brand of custard ice-creams. This takes Floyd by surprise, as he reveals that he had been eating ice cream of that same brand the night he had hit Sam.
The writer develops an attraction for Lily, and he sheepishly turns down the advances of Jacqueline, who tries to seduce him one night. After a string of physical and psychological ailments stemming from the accident, Sam one day wakes up stressed after seeing a nightmare where he witnesses himself falling down from outer space. Shaking out of fear, he looks at a painting in his room and manages to break it with a telekinetic electric zap.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Who Is Floyd In Reality?
Absolutely terrified of this new power, Sam runs to Floyd, whom he admits he looks up to, almost like a father figure, and tells him everything about his nightmare. Floyd claims that he has a background in parapsychology and starts to analyze Sam by showing him some pictures.
In the end, he places a penny on the table and asks Sam to do what he had done with the painting in his room. Sam repeats his silly face-twitching and hand movements, and the penny zaps out of existence. Not at all happy with this new development in his body, he enters a state of depression and keeps himself locked up in his room for days. In the end, he opens up to Floyd, and almost like a ritual cleansing, they burn down a Santa Claus toy figure that was kept inside Sam’s room, and that was apparently having disturbing conversations with Sam.
Floyd maintained close contact with a local high school basketball player named Lentil “Beans” Washington, who was much older than any high school student should be. Floyd instructs Beans to perform terribly in an important basketball game, which earns Floyd some money (through a bet) and also gets the team coach fired (a man who hates Floyd because he had slept around with the coach’s wife). One evening, as Jacqueline has sex with an office colleague, Floyd introduces Sam to Kimmi, a woman he has fallen in love with and wants to settle down with. Some days later, a mysterious limousine shows up in front of Floyd’s driveway, and Floyd and Sam are taken to a lavish building to meet with a man named Anselm. Anselm is some sort of mob lord who reveals Floyd’s real identity and profession as a con artist and criminal who is wanted for forgery, counterfeiting, and arson. The basketball money, which had earlier made some money for Floyd, had lost money for Anselm, and he now wants back a million dollars from Floyd for having fixed the match.
The characters in “Big Gold Brick” are just as convoluted and strange as the plot and narrative. The character of Sam, especially after recovering from the accident, is a skittish man who is always nervous around conversations. He also often suffers some sort of psychological fit in which he sees things smaller than they are, repeats the exact same words twice, gets spoken to by a Santa Claus toy, and so on. The performance of the actor playing the character also seems strange, which was perhaps a directorial choice, but it does more harm to the viewing experience than good. Jacqueline’s character tries to seduce Sam for no understandable reason whatsoever, and it only seems like a scene must for the film to have cast Megan Fox in the role. Anselm is made to look like a supervillain throughout the little time he is seen, with no depth to the character. It is perhaps Floyd who is an exception to all this (also in terms of Andy Garcia’s performance in the role). His character is like a swindler, a drifter who has made his way into enormous wealth but who is also not completely self-obsessed.
‘Big Gold Brick’ Ending Explained: Does Floyd Actually Survive?
In an attempt to collect the money, Floyd tries to rob a local bank with the help of a friend from his security job. But the entire plan goes to complete failure—Floyd accidentally shoots his friend even before he enters the bank; the bank’s alarms go off very quickly after he has robbed it; the police arrive on the scene very quickly; the police don’t even bother to arrest him as they simply go away with the robbed money and leave him and his dying friend stranded. The day of the repayment arrives, and Anselm sends his men to Floyd’s house. Floyd bids goodbye to his family and then tries to run away, with Sam running after him and the goons chasing them. They all arrive at an open parking lot where Floyd has been shot twice and is about to be killed when Sam uses his telekinetic powers to draw a cloud close over them, and thunderous lightning zaps Floyd out of existence. Sam recovers in a hospital as a meteor from outer space hits Anselm’s house, completely wiping them out of existence. Sam gradually wrote his book on these events, which became a sensation after being published. Jacqueline informs him that Floyd is possibly still alive, and at one autograph session, Sam even believes he saw him. One night, after some time, Sam spots Lily, who has come to meet him. The two kiss and then run into the night as the sky rumbles with thunder in the distance.
The film makes no indication of whether Floyd is really alive or not, and in totality, there is hardly too much to comprehend in it. One possible explanation for the film’s impossibilities can be that the entire plot is an imagining of a young, desperate, lonely writer, particularly the narratives of having become a rich, popular, bestselling author who is seduced and accepted by attractive women. But the film does not drop too many hints either to consider this a possibility.
Overall, the film feels like a desperate attempt to present something shallow with a lot of pretense of depth. Oftentimes, it feels imitative and parodical of other films, from the Coen brothers-Esque dark comedy to the ending of the plot, which is bound to remind one of Alfred spotting a seemingly dead Bruce Wayne in “The Dark Knight Rises.” In a terrible turn of false promises, there is very little cerebral or funny in “Big Gold Brick,” which can be easily avoided with no second thought.
“Big Gold Brick” is a 2022 Fantasy Comedy film written and directed by Brian Petsos.