I say it at least once a day. Technology is our friend, but it’s not our >good< friend. And so it was on the morning I was all set to talk with Tomas Leach about his doc, THE LURE. Leach was more than gracious, and very patient as I worked through the difficulties that led to us starting a half-hour late. It’s emblematic of his great amiability, the which, no doubt, is why he was able to gain the trust of the wonderful characters we meet in his film.
There are many striking aspects to this contemplative documentary. First, the insightful portrait of a few of the thousands of people searching for a buried treasure near Santa Fe, New Mexico, a treasure that may or may not exist, and the man responsible for the hunt, is as much about human nature as it is the specifics deciphering the clues that lead to gold and jewels. When I spoke with Leach via Skype on June 9, 2017, I wanted to start with why, before finally deciding whether or not to make his film, he wanted to personally meet with Forrest Fenn, the man who hid the treasure and devised the cryptic poem that reveals where it is.
We went on to talk about the way he had made the landscape of the American southwest a tangible character in his film; casting the rights treasure hunters; the very real dangers of hunting treasure in the wild; and whether or not he was tempted to take up the hunt for treasure himself.
We finished up with a discussion of the quest versus the grail; why it’s best to keep the crew small; the physical rigors of making this film; and choosing music that is integral, but not ostentatious.
THE LURE is his engrossing doc about the treasure hidden in the American Southwest by Forrest Fenn, and a sampling of the people who have devoted their lives to finding it. The film is as visually rich as its characters are surprising, complex, and never quite what we expect them to be as we learn their compelling back stories, and meet the enigmatic Mr. Fenn himself, who smiled like the Cheshire Cat. Leach’s previous work includes DELAY and IN NO GREAT HURRY.