Directed by Stephen Gaghan.
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Edgar Ramirez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Corey Stoll, Toby Kebbell, Bill Camp, Joshua Harto, Timothy Simons, Craig T Nelson, Stacy Keach, and Bruce Greenwood.
GOLD is the story of Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey), a modern-day prospector, hustler, and dreamer, desperate for a lucky break. Left with few options, Wells teams up with an equally luckless geologist (Edgar Ramirez) to execute a grandiose, last-ditch effort: to find gold deep in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia.
‘The last card you turn over is the only one that matters’ says Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey) as he describes the final moments before he struck gold…
Gold is, very loosely, Inspired by the events of the Bre-X mining scandal in the early 90’s. Bre-X went from a mere penny stock to making billions in the capital markets, after owner David Walsh and geologist John Felderhof ostensibly made the gold discovery of the decade in Indonesia. Instead it was, in reality, the fraud of the decade.
Gold tells the story of Kenny Wells, yet another man who dares to dream the American dream. After the death of his father, the owner of Washoe Mining, Kenny’s life and the company hits rock bottom. As deals fall through, Kenny seeks out geologist Mike Acosta – the ‘river walker’. Drowning in desperation to put Washoe Mining back on the map and with a single dime to his name, Kenny puts all of his faith into a plot of land in Indonesia.
While Gold isn’t a film destined to become a timeless classic, McConaughey’s performance is engaging and charismatic enough to maintain your interest. There is no denying the amount of effort and commitment McConaughey has put into this role; when they say he was on a diet of cheeseburgers and beer for four months, that is beyond evident. Particularly when our balding, pot-bellied, protagonist sports a certain pair of y-fronts once too often… He is almost unrecognisable, if not for his Texan drawl, and the personal connection McConaughey developed with Kenny’s character shines through in his performance. Gold has a great deal of heart, however you don’t find yourself necessarily rooting for Kenny, nor do you develop an emotional connection with him. Conversely, he is far from dull and whether you empathise at all with Kenny or not you are drawn in by his sheer gall, gumption, and outrageous behaviour.
The relationship between Kenny Wells and Mike Acosta (Edgar Ramirez) is the strongest line of narrative in Gold. As soon as they sign a binding contract on a napkin, the two are a joy to watch and where the real film lies. The rest of the cast are sadly underused and overshadowed, such as Bryce Dallas Howard and Toby Kebbell, in the fevered McConaughey frenzy, which seems to be where all the film’s eggs are placed.
It’s unfortunate that surrounding some outstanding performances, Gold as a story spikes up and down in regard to interest. Certain twists and turns become a little over convoluted, with scenes that are gratuitous, gimmicky, and don’t necessarily fit (Why is there a tiger here??) – depending on which of the many stories Gold is aiming to tell.
The soundtrack by Daniel Pemberton sits alongside the saving graces of McConaughey and Ramirez with a life of its own, often a scene stealer in its own right. Even if it occasionally accompanies Ocean’s Eleven-esque sequences that appear as humorous parodies.
Gold is a solid film, fast paced and full of energy with a stonking soundtrack to boot. Much like the gold found in Indonesia, the base minerals of Gold don’t sit right and shift about constantly, relying heavily on performances that out-perform the film as a whole. Leaving you suitably entertained, but nothing more.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Emma Withington – Follow me on Twitter