This directorial debut from Christian D. Bruun looks for the narrative thread in a story about denim, but despite the fabric's familiarity, most viewers will leave the documentary bored. "Blue Gold: American Jeans" is intermittently engaging, but its attempt to weave together the journey of vintage clothing dealer Eric Schrader with the history of the apparel ultimately falls apart.
Narrated by Edward Burns, "Blue Gold" follows Schrader as he searches for decades-old clothing, scouring barns and vintage shops alike. Between Schrader's global missions to buy and sell the best in denim, the documentary explores jeans' past, sharing their evolution from being worn by cowboys, farmhands and factory workers to becoming the uniform of bikers, rock stars and models. Bruun recruited giants of the jeans world, from Tommy Hilfiger to Adriano Goldschmied, and uses archival footage to show everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Bruce Lee and Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama wearing the now-stylish pants.
Broken into individual segments, short sections of "Blue Gold" would likely be more interesting than the film as a whole, which drags particularly in its final third. Overall, the documentary lacks cohesion, as it bounces between Schrader's story and the history of jeans themselves. Devotees of fashion may be fascinated, but most other viewers will be happier to simply slip on a pair in ignorance.
'Blue Gold: American Jeans'
Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge Las Palmas