Inspired in form by American police TV shows and soap operas, The Golden Boat is a madcap, surreal dash through the streets of New York city, telling the mysterious and often hilarious story of an aged street-person named Austin, a comically compulsive assassin, as he joins up with a young rock critic and philosophy student named Israel Williams. In the course of their adventures, Austin pursues his object of desire – a Mexican soap opera star – and along the way engages a host of TV characters and bit players, whose repartee range from gangsterish insults to the question of God’s existence.
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User Reviews: Raoul Ruiz’s first American movie is something of a parody of American TV with a few pinches of Mexican soap operas. Violence is treated as a normal means of interaction and it rarely has any real consequences. The film is structured as a series of episodes about Israel, a self absorbed young man who meets a Austin, a crazy old man who has just stabbed himself. Austin follows Israel before stopping to rest on a set of stairs. Israel, cool New York artist/critic/graduate student that he is, assumes Austin is dead and pockets his wallet. Throughout the rest of the film Austin periodically appears and people usually end up getting stabbed.
The film is shot with Ruiz’s usual sense of experimentation but there really isn’t anything new here, Ruiz seems content to tread the same old ground technically. The film is very comical at times and is always entertaining enough to be worth a watch but it’s far from Ruiz’s best work.