By James Mcallister

It’s a story so strange that surely it must be a work of fiction. Back in 2010, former art dealer and eccentric millionaire Forrest Fenn purported to hide a cache filled with gold and jewels worth over a million dollars somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, offering those who wished to find the treasure a series of cryptic clues that he claimed would lead them to its location. Seven years on, and still no one has succeeded in finding the loot. And yet, every year, thousands of thrill seekers travel up to North America, in search of the now infamous fortune.

In essence, it’s a real-life Rat Race, but never one that director Tomas Leach shows any interest in treating with the sort of wry humour that such an outlandish yarn perhaps deserves. Instead, Leach adopts a manner of steadfast composure: the mysticism of the score – composed by Tex-Mex rock band Calexico – that’s deftly amplified by the bewitching beauty of the mountain landscapes, instilling The Lure with a heady poeticism that’s visually enrapturing, but sadly fails to enlighten – the director unable to articulate his own motivations for telling this particular tale.

Fenn himself is, frustratingly, more of a footnote; the focus here is on a select number of quirky individuals who are committed to finding the treasure, seemingly under the belief that the hunt gives their lives purpose. Leach captures occasional moments of deep profundity as he observes these people – seeing how, in one instance, the search has effectively become a damaging third wheel in a couple’s marriage is heartbreaking to witness.

But too often are we forced to follow along on the trail with them, and even at a slender one-hour-and-seventeen-minute running time there are sections here that are so monotonously slow, leaping into a ravine and towards almost certain death begins to seem like a tempting alternative. A more able director may have been able to mine something truly fascinating from this set-up, but unfortunately Leach appears to be about as capable of striking gold as his subjects are.

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